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Community Provider Keen to Accept CYFS Cases

Community Provider Keen to Accept CYFS Cases

A major provider of community services has welcomed a call from United Future for NGOs to take on some of the work of CYFS, and it says new treatment modalities offer a chance to move forward.

United Future’s spokeswoman on child and family affairs, Judy Turner, says NGOs could play an important role in turning the performance of CYFS around.

Richmond Fellowship New Zealand, which provides a range of specialist services under contracts with public sector agencies including CYFS, says it is pleasing that the expertise in the non-governmental sector is being recognised.

“Community-based services are not the struggling charities of old,” says Richmond Fellowship’s clinical director, Dr Mike Reid. “They are increasingly skilled and business-like and they have the ability to take on some of the CYFS case load – a case load that can not be managed by one Government agency alone.”

Providing more services through NGOs would also ensure a greater range of treatment and support systems, with less dependence on out-of-home placements.

“The trend now is towards support and treatment systems that get to the bottom of the problem by examining all of the young person’s relationships and the influences that might cause anti-social behaviour,” says Dr Reid.

“A favoured approach is a holistic one known as Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) or in a related form as Functional Family Therapy. MST has been used in New Zealand since early 2002, through teams established by Richmond in Christchurch, Hamilton and Porirua. It has since become the core modality in the Government’s new Reducing Youth Offending programme, a three-year joint venture between the Department of Corrections and Child, Youth and Family focusing on the 10 per cent of 14-19 year-olds who are most likely to re-offend.

“Traditional approaches have tended to remove a young person from an unhealthy environment, apply counselling and return the client to exactly the same environment. MST delivers treatment in-situ and works on the whole environment to break down patterns of anti-social behaviour.

“New Zealand has led the way in the development of an effective non-governmental sector, the so-called Third Sector, for the delivery of services such as mental health support. It is entirely feasible for NGOs to become a key provider in the area of at-risk young people and families, so that outcomes can improve

"We would welcome the opportunity to work with the Government to bring about changes needed in this area," he said.

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