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Train Up A Child In The Way He Should Go

PRESS RELEASE

7 September 1999

Rosemary Francis
Spokesperson for Social Services

TRAIN UP A CHILD IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO

"CYPFS is showing disregard for both the delinquent youth and society when it arranges inappropriate placements," said Mrs Rosemary Francis. Commenting for the Christian Heritage Party on the latest in five recent cases of a CYPFS placed youth being in serious trouble for re-offending. Mrs Francis said that the Department has a responsibility to society to ensure that all children and youth in their care are placed in appropriate facilities.

"We do not encourage the government agencies interfering in family life," she explained. "But when an obviously dysfunctional family is causing grief and anxiety to the community, and setting very bad examples to young people in their care, it is time to remove those children and place them where their role models are positive.

"Patch-gang members, especially those with a string of convictions for serious offences against society, are certainly not appropriate, even if they are family members."

Commenting on the Wellington rape case, where a 14 year old boy was sentenced to 7½ years jail last Friday, Mrs Francis agrees with the Wellington District Court Judge who said that the youth would not have offended except for that 'fateful' CYPFS placement.

"By wearing gang patches, people are declaring their aggression towards society as a whole. Those who have offended and indeed are hardened criminals, are certainly inadequate individuals to take on the burden of responsibility of caring for at-risk youth."

Children learn by example. By placing them in a situation where they are going to observe anti-social and violent behaviour, we are condemning them to a life of criminal activity. The current placements are failing both the young person and community at large," said Mrs Francis.

"All government placements of at risk youngsters must involve consistent and regular monitoring and support for the caregivers. Situations such as the Rotorua case in March, and the recent Wellington case, demonstrate that CYPFS is not succeeding in its stated policies of ensuring the best outcomes for people in its care."

Where iwi or family members can nurture and help a child, that is great. Give such people every oversight and support in their efforts to turn around the unhealthy life patterns the child has suffered. Where, however, a child is in need of residential care, for his or her own well-being, and that of society, such facilities and trained personnel must be provided."

CYPFS is frequently heard bemoaning the comfortable smug community attitude where they want these offenders locked away, but not in their back yard. Such public opposition is fuelled by the errors of placement which CYPFS is committing.

"If CYPFS want community support for facilities for at-risk youth, then they must take greater care where they place the dangerous youth, and how their care is monitored," said Mrs Francis. "As long as government policies discourage proper parenting and family life, there will be large numbers of delinquent children for the State to care for. There is a huge cost to the nation when our priorities are wrong. It is a sad commentary on the quality of family life when the Court rules that so many parents are incapable of caring for their children," she said.

ENDS


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