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Plunket applauds CYFs funding

Media Release

24 October 2003

Plunket and CYFS ...1

Plunket applauds CYFs funding
but says major change in attitude also needed

Plunket welcomes the release of findings relating to the Baseline Review of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFs).

Plunket's chief executive, Paul Baigent, said that the commitment of resources to address the systemic and staffing issues in the department was a good first step.

"However, it is an indictment on society that this level of 'bottom of the cliff' services is even required.

"The government must be committed to investment in preventative services to stem the increasing demand that CYFs faces. There should not be this need for more CYFs service.

"The time has now come for full co-operation among government departments working with children and families, not just at a senior level but throughout departments. This will demand a shift in attitude, in some cases major, to ensure cultural and structural changes are made which encourage consulting and working together with support from community agencies. The time for platitudes and half solutions is gone," he said.

Mr Baigent said Plunket was pleased to see the proposed co-ordination of family support services under the Ministry of Social Development. He added that government must also be committed to funding these changes and to engaging with the community in both the development and operation of the services.

Plunket's New Zealand president, Kaye Crowther, said that Plunket had long recognised the need for major assistance for CYFs.

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"At Plunket's biennial conference in Christchurch in June, a remit was passed calling for the government to adequately fund the obviously struggling CYFs.

That Government provide sufficient funding to the Children, Youth and Family Services to ensure that they have adequate resources to respond to all referrals in a timely manner. (Remit from Plunket conference June 2003, carried by a large majority)

"Perhaps this is the time to look yet again at the problems New Zealand families are facing and reiterate Plunket's continuing plea for more investment in the early years for New Zealand's young children and their families.

"If made, this investment will ultimately see a diminishing need for CYFs services which are currently at a hideous level," said Mrs Crowther.

For most of this year Plunket has been part of an informal group of chief executives of non government organisations (NGO's) working together because of a deep concern over the health and social issues facing New Zealand families.

"The NGOs are working with the Ministry of Social Development and Child Youth and Family in an effort to address the root cause of family problems. Unless appropriate long term investment in preventative solutions and full coordination of services within government departments in partnership with community agencies takes place, we can see the situation getting worse," said Mr Baigent.

Ends

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