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ACT’s support for United Future CYF policy

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

Turner welcomes ACT’s support for United Future CYF policy

United Future Social Services spokesperson Judy Turner says she was heartened to read today that ACT deputy leader Muriel Newman supports a move away from the current Children Youth & Family agency model that simply acts as an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

Mrs Turner said “At the end of a press release dredging up more negative child abuse statistics, Ms Newman states that ‘Only a forward-thinking, one-stop welfare agency - linking police, education, health and welfare - with a goal of reducing child abuse in the community will have the ability to turn around the escalation in child abuse that we are now seeing.’

“This is exactly the kind of new model that United Future proposed back in April, establishing a new child protection agency for the most serious cases working much more closely with the police, schools and health professionals, as well as creating a family support service that gets help to those families who are most at risk of becoming another negative statistic.

“Fortunately for Ms Newman, she will soon have an opportunity to support such changes when Parliament votes on a government amendment to the Children, Young Persons and their Families Amendment Bill No.4.”

The amendment contains two key planks of United Future’s proposal. First, it adopts a differential intake system that allows both critical and less urgent cases to be given the attention they deserve.

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“At the moment, CYF is so busy focusing on the most critical cases that it doesn’t have a chance to do the preventative work that would stop less urgent cases getting worse.

“Second, the amendment will allow non-governmental organisations to be contracted to work with at-risk families in less urgent, yet still vulnerable, circumstances. CYF would then be more able to concentrate its resources on urgent child protection work, relieved of some of the burden of the hugely important, but less critical, early intervention work.

“When we have NGOs making inroads into the 99 percent of cases that are not considered critical yet have weighed CYFS down, and bringing their practised efficiency to bear, we have the start of the solution to our national child abuse tragedy.

“As the only party that has offered a solution to the current problems that beset CYF, United Future is pleased that the government has accepted that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

“I can’t think why, given the opportunity to do so, ACT wouldn’t support such constructive solutions to the problems they have so consistently highlighted, and I’m sure that all other parties that have made political mileage out of this issue will also follow suit,” said Mrs Turner.

ENDS



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