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ACT Supports Community-based Child Protection

ACT Supports Community-based Child Protection

Tuesday 7th Nov 2000 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Social Welfare

The current system of dealing with child abuse is clearly not working and needs to be urgently overhauled, ACT Social Welfare spokesman Muriel Newman said today.

“With 3,379 unallocated cases of possible child abuse, the Child, Youth and Family Service is simply not coping. Record numbers of social workers are burning out and quitting – to the point where the PSA says that staffing levels are dangerously low and CYFS’s ‘dams are bursting’. On top of all of this, reports have recently revealed that the CYFS multi-million dollar phone system is failing with ‘life or death’ implications for children.

“While the government is ignoring the growing crisis, concerned community groups are now trying to find their own solutions. Groups associated with the Starship Hospital are leading the way with the establishment of a co-ordinated child abuse service under one roof.

“The Head of Women’s Refuge, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait has called for a fresh start in the way we deal with keeping at-risk children safe, and ACT supports her call. What we need is a community-based, one-stop-shop, regionally-focused agency with well trained social workers, police, health and education specialists, as well as other professionals, working together, using a mix of best practice techniques, such as mentoring, that have already been proven to be successful. Their goal would be to use early intervention to reduce, and indeed eliminate, child abuse in their area, as well as provide care and protection services.

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“The inaction of this Minister and his Government is inexcusable. They must be held fully accountable for the inevitable consequences of insisting nothing is wrong. New Zealanders deserve to know how the Minister plans to deal with this crisis and restore public confidence in the Government’s ability to keep at-risk children safe”, said Muriel Newman.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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