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Katherine Rich should stick to facts

13 November 2003 Media Statement

Katherine Rich should stick to facts

Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson today challenged National MP Katherine Rich to stick to the facts in the deaths of Saliel Aplin and Olympia Jetson.

“If Katherine Rich wants to retain her position on the front bench, she must stop misrepresenting the facts, especially in tragic cases where children have died.

“In Parliament this afternoon, Ms Rich claimed that the national office of Child, Youth and Family did not provide enough support for its Masterton social workers. This is incorrect.

“Caseloads in Masterton have always remained within the national average range. A new manager, appointed in mid-2001, increased resources to the office by employing a new team of social workers.

“The department has taken further steps to support the Masterton site and the wider community:
- strengthened on-site management and leadership in Masterton during 2003;
- provided additional support and practice advice from the chief social worker’s office;
- provided additional social work resources from the Wellington office;
- strengthened collaboration with other key agencies, especially Police and Health;
- worked closely with community partners on initiatives to address family violence, such as the ‘Rise Above It’ and ‘Everyday Communities’ campaigns;
- contracted an additional Social Workers in Schools position in Masterton.

“Ms Rich must acknowledge that Child, Youth and Family has policies and procedures in place to safeguard children and support social workers. Unfortunately, these were not followed in this case, with tragic consequences.”


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