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"Wasted" with CYPFA

Labour
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News that a 14-year-old girl was "wasted and out of it" while in the care of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency highlights the need for a renewed Government commitment to the service, says Labour social welfare spokesperson Steve Maharey.

Mr Maharey was responding to a report in The Press today that a girl had access to drugs, alcohol and tobacco while in CYPFA care, causing her mother to regret she ever asked CYPFA for help.

"I know New Zealanders are deeply disturbed by the steady stream of reports about problems with CYPFA care," Mr Maharey says. "When CYPFA fails, children and families pay the price."

"This girl's story is yet another highlighting CYPFA's chronic shortage of appropriate places for children in its care. We've seen children placed in the care of gang members. We've seen James Whakaruru die after being left with a man who beat him. I've been told of a 12-year-old girl being put in a motel when nothing else could be found.

"Labour is proud to have introduced the CYPF Act and dismayed at the way National has let the system decay. That's why our social security policy sets out how we'll make it work again.

"Our commitments include ensuring the number of residential places available for children through CYPFA meets demand. We'll be encouraging the development of innovative proposals to meet the residential and rehabilitation needs of children and young people.

"Labour will institute a professional development programme for foster parents. We'll develop best practice guidelines for them and put national standards for foster care on the Qualifications Framework. Foster parents will get steady support from social workers and the level of assistance available to them for education costs will be reviewed.

"Labour will also have a nationwide strategy designed to strengthen and support family relationships through education and research on family issues. We want to help prevent family breakdowns, not just repair them."

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