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Massive Cover Up Continues

Massive Cover Up Continues

Thursday 23 Oct 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT's Social Welfare spokesman, Dr Muriel Newman said the Department of Child Youth and Family Services First Principles Baseline Review released today confirms our worst nightmares of a dysfunctional department forced to struggle on with no accountability, sound data or outcomes.

"The Report is damning in every respect citing problems which are `deep and systemic'. It says there is a lack of knowledge and data on key aspects of the department's operation - even basic information such as the numbers of children and young people in care," Dr Newman said.

"What this amounts to is a cover up of the worse sort by the Labour government. By continuing to throw money at a service Labour knew was not coping, it has contributed to the serious damage and harm wreaked on children in recent years.

"High profile cases where CYFS has undoubtedly failed, such as the murders of Bruce Howse's stepdaughters and Coral Burrows that Labour has tried to explain away, may have had totally different outcomes if dealt with by a healthy functioning well managed service. CYFS has failed to provide the necessary lifeline to children in danger.

"When Labour took responsibility in 1999 for CYFS, they said the answer was more funding. Yet in spite of almost doubling the funding available to the service, the report spells out `Significant increases in funding...have not resulted in broad based or sustained improvement. In fact some aspects of performance have got worse over that period.'

"Who would have thought this would be happening under a Labour government?

"While the Report states what is needed is clearly defined lines of accountability and direction, Labour's response is to create a complex and burgeoning bureaucracy that blur the lines of accountability with an even more nebulous chain of command where no one will be able to be held responsible for its failures.

"Under Labour's stewardship, the numbers of children in care have increased. The numbers of renotifications have increased. CYFS has been run in crisis management mode with no one held accountable and under the proposed changes not even Ministers will be able to be held to account. The cover up will carry on and the public will continue to wonder whether any child in need of care and protection is safe under this government," said Dr Newman.

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