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CYF Swamped By Unallocated Cases

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

06 November 2003

CYF swamped by unallocated cases

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Katherine Rich is appalled by revelations at a select committee today that the unallocated case list at CYF is far worse than anyone imagined.

"CYF today confirmed there are 3,132 unallocated cases at the lower level of urgency compared to the 1,780 unallocated cases at the end of June.

"That's a 76% rise in four months. "Just a few days ago it was revealed that 75% of all cases of physical and sexual abuse of children were discovered in the 'lower' urgency rankings. This is of huge concern.

"Those at the lower urgency level are supposed to have an exploratory interview within 28 days. Today we heard that 50% of low urgency cases are not seen within that prescribed time frame.

"Even those that are assessed as being urgent, 57% aren't seen within the prescribed time frame.

"Each one of those 3,132 unallocated cases is a potential time-bomb, like the cases of Saliel Aplin or Olympia Jetson, who were murdered by Bruce Howse after the alarm had already been raised with CYF," says Mrs Rich.

"The Government has failed to deliver on the key recommendation in the report by Judge Mick Brown in 2000, which called for the unallocated case list to be reduced to zero within six months.

"In 2000 he also issued a warning that cases can often escalate over time.

"The Minister responsible for CYF now says 'trying to find fault is pointless', but when the public don't know who or what is responsible, how can they be confident the problems are being addressed?

"After four years it's no longer good enough for the Government to duck responsibility and let public servants take the blame for its failings," says Mrs Rich.

Ends


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