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Unallocated cases continue to fall

17 October 2001 Media Statement

Unallocated cases continue to fall

Child, Youth and Family’s focus on reducing its number of unallocated cases is achieving good results and will continue, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Steve Maharey today released statistical information showing the Department had 1,792 unallocated cases at close of business yesterday – a drop of nearly 60% since March – and the time that these cases have been waiting to be formally allocated to a social worker for on-going case management. At any one time there are around 21,000 clients, from approximately 13,000 families, being assisted by CYF and the current number of unallocated cases is equivalent to less than the notifications received in an average month.

Steve Maharey said he was pleased that to see the Department gradually getting on top of the case backlog.

“Hard work by social workers combined with extra funding in this year’s Budget is responsible for getting the backlog reduced. An extra $1 million was provided to form teams of mobile social workers for areas with the highest number of unallocated cases.

“The department has also issued new policy instructions to staff about the management of critical and very urgent cases (those cases where a child’s safety was assessed as being at risk).

“Previously, the department would take quick action to ensure the child’s actual safety but may not immediately allocate the case to a social worker for ongoing case management. In preparing the release of the latest unallocated statistics, I noted that some critical and very urgent cases could remain unallocated for some time even though the department assured me the child was safe. I therefore asked the department to look into this matter it has subsequently put in place a new policy to ensure that immediate safety checks and arrangements for ongoing case management were put in place at the same time. I believe this will help ensure that these cases get more prompt detailed attention.

“Considerable effort has also gone into ensuring that this first set of statistics from CYF’s new computerised case management tool CYRAS are accurate.

“All the remaining unallocated cases are those where it has been assessed that the children are not at risk of actual physical harm. In the main these cases relate to problem behaviours or relationship difficulties and not abuse or neglect. Like the critical and urgent cases, they are reviewed regularly and response times can be escalated if necessary.

“The effort to reducing unallocated cases will continue unabated. The Government and Child, Youth and Family are totally committed to keep the number tracking down over time.

“However, ultimately the best way to keep unallocated cases down is to change adult behaviour. All New Zealanders have a responsibility to work for better outcomes for our children,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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