Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Call for Official Inquiry Into Child Youth & Family

MEDIA RELEASE

8 May 2014

Call for Official Inquiry Into Child Youth & Family

Family First NZ is calling for an official inquiry in to the policies and procedures of CYF. The call, which accompanies their ongoing call for an independent CYF Complaints Authority, comes as a result of two recent cases - the manager of a Whangarei Child Youth & Family home today found guilty of sexual and physical abuse, and yesterday’s acquittal by a jury of a couple on all 14 charges of assault and ill-treatment of three boys between 2004 and 2010 brought by CYF against the couple.

“In the first case, these allegations of abuse occurred over a two year period (2011 - 2013) and disturbingly in a CYF-owned family home, where caregivers are directly sought and employed by CYF. There is obviously some huge flaws in the vetting system of caregivers, and in the level and frequency of care and communication between social workers and children in care. Parents of some of the victims are claiming to have gone to the police directly after hearing their children’s claims of abuse, and that CYF had been aware of the abuse for some time, yet failed to act swiftly and notify the families of the children. One would also question the idea of having multiple children, both males and females of varying ages, in one place,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“In the second case, it highlights that caregiving is a thankless task and CYF are making it even more thankless. Caregivers are being referred very difficult and demanding children yet are being rendered completely powerless, lacking support, and at risk themselves when dealing with unacceptable and defiant behaviour. This couple was ‘hung out to dry’.”

“We’re are also questioning why the couple has been completely acquitted in court yet CYF claim they have still committed abuse. Does CYF operate under a different law which excludes reality, common sense and the rule of law?”

In the same week, a report was released by the NZ Council for Educational Research which found that a survey of Principals were not positive about CYF support. 70% said CYF workers were ‘not useful’ or of ‘mixed use’. Only 4% said they were ‘very useful’.

"However, of most concern is that there is no external and independent accountability. CYF perform a necessary function but their lack of accountability to their process and procedures should concern all families,” says Mr McCoskrie.

A report last year supported Family First’s call for an independent CYF Complaints Authority. However Family First rejected the recommendation that the Children's Commissioner be responsible for it.

“We note that a key feature of the Police watchdog (IPCA) which they promote is that they are not part of the Police, is established by law to be fully independent, and is headed by a District Court Judge, and supported by independent investigators.”

The call for an official Inquiry and an independent complaints process also comes in response to a number of recent cases – including a case of shocking abuse by two parents on their four young children - where the agency had been shown to have acted inadequately or irresponsibly on serious cases of child abuse and with dysfunctional families. At other times, CYF have not acted when there was clear evidence that they should have. Where do families turn when they believe CYF isn’t performing?” says Mr McCoskrie.

“We need to have a mechanism that ensures that families who have been notified to CYF as being at-risk are actually monitored in an appropriate way, but also to prevent abuse of families by the State. It is vital that there is independent accountability for an organisation that can make decisions to uplift children and potentially destroy families without even having to produce concrete evidence of abuse. CYF currently has an internal complaints process but virtually nobody trusts it, or knows about it, or uses it.”

“CYF work in very difficult circumstances but it is essential that there is external accountability for their actions. We are being contacted by far too many families saying that either CYF aren’t listening to serious concerns or that CYF are a ‘law unto themselves’,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“An official Inquiry will be in the best interests of the social workers, will result in public confidence and accountability for actions and decisions by CYF workers, and will protect families from abuse, and from abuse by the state,” says Mr McCoskrie.

CYF admits losing neglected children

Agency knew of carer's sex crime

CYF admits failing 12-year-old girl

Horrified judge rescues children

CYF admits mistakes made in neglect case

Abuse case sparks call for CYF watchdog

Mea culpa: CYF should have done better

CYF were investigating toddler before death

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Anne Tolley’s
Callous Folly

Years ago, I remember someone in the Heath Ministry telling me off the record that regulatory oversight in this country largely consisted in ‘waiting for something to turn green or fall off somebody’ before the authorities would swing into action...

Last week’s conflict between Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and District Court judge Carolyn Henwood illustrated quite a few of the flaws in the system. More>>

 

Members’ Bills: Greens' Domestic Violence And Loans Bills Pulled From Ballot

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill introduces workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, including allowing victims to request paid domestic violence leave for up to 10 days... Gareth Hughes’ Bill allows Kiwis with student loans to defer their student loan repayments into a first home savings scheme. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Did Not 'Deliberately' Use Pepper Spray On 10-Year-Old

"When spraying the man, the officer did not properly consider the necessity of using pepper spray in a confined space, the likelihood that it would affect the other innocent passengers or the fact that he was using a more powerful spray." More>>

ALSO:

Donor Bill Passes: Full Income Compensation For Live Organ Donors

Unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid. More>>

ALSO:

Earthquake Response: Emergency Legislation Prepared

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently. More>>

ALSO:

Housing MPs: New Building(s) For Parliament

A new building will be erected on Parliament grounds to house Members of Parliament and their staff who currently work in leased accommodation in Bowen House. The plan has cross-Party support, apart from NZ First, said Parliament’s Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news