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Dyson Must Accept Blame For CYF's Failings

Dyson Must Accept Blame For CYF's Failings

Wednesday 17 Dec 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today accused CYF Minister Ruth Dyson of a whitewash, following the release of two CYFS reports into the tragic deaths of Kelly Gush and Tamaiti Pokaia.

"These reports - released today - are nothing more than another whitewash. Once again, no one has been held directly responsible. CYF has attempted to pass the blame off to schools, health providers, even the Family Court, but the basic facts remain the same - two more children are dead following its failure to act," Dr Newman said.

"Until there are proper lines of accountability, and we have a government that accepts that the buck stops with the Minister, there will be little change in the way the Department operates.

"Under this Minister, those concerns are even more serious. Ms Dyson, since her appointment, has refused to accept Ministerial responsibility for CYF. Essentially, the Government has washed its hands of New Zealand's child welfare agency - a department that the Government's own Baseline Review has described as `verging on dysfunctional'.

"This situation in completely untenable. The Government must accept that it is running a department that has statutory powers over families and children. As such, Ms Dyson must be held responsible and accountable. If the Department is found to be failing to operate professionally and competently, then her head must roll.

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"The reports have highlighted the tragic consequences caused by the breakdown in basic practices such as information sharing and gathering. It once again reinforces the need for a complete overhaul of CYF.

"Until child welfare in New Zealand is rebuilt as a one-stop-shop community-based family agency with social workers, police, education professionals and health providers, working together as a team in a collaborative matter to eliminate child abuse, then there will be more child deaths.

"Hand-ringing reports, like the two released today, will ensure New Zealand continues to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world to raise our children," Dr Newman said.

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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