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Bed shortage at crisis point for at-risk youth

Anne Tolley MP
National’s Associate Welfare (CYF) Spokeswoman

26 October 2006

Bed shortage at crisis point for at-risk youth

National Party Associate Welfare spokeswoman Anne Tolley says Labour’s been well aware about the looming crisis in safe beds for at-risk youth, but has done virtually nothing to stop it happening.

“Some 329 youths spent more than 24 hours in police cells in just the first six months of this year. Occupancy rates at all three Youth Residences have been running at 100% for 18 months. The crisis was well signalled.

“The Minister herself identified an urgent need for 20 extra beds in May. But even then she knew that would only be a stop-gap measure.

“With violent youth crime soaring, CYF is yet again having to admit that the bed crisis means some teenagers are being forced to languish in police cells for more than a week.”

Mrs Tolley says that’s simply not good enough.

“The state has an ultimate responsibility to provide a safe place for these teens to sleep, where the process of assessment and rehabilitation can start. ”

Mrs Tolley says even the Youth Court judges are increasingly frustrated with the Government’s continued mismanagement of Youth Justice issues.

“Labour’s mucked around for too long trying to pretend they’re on top of this crisis. All the while, there’s a ticking time bomb sitting in police holding cells.

“Will this Minister take responsibility if a troubled teen dies in a holding cell?”

ENDS

Attached: Parliamentary Questions 8068 & 13302 - 1 page.
http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0610/tolleypqs.pdf

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