CYF Policies result in child abuse
19th November 2008
CYF Policies result in child abuse
Sensible Sentencing Spokesperson on Drug Issues, Christine Davey, notes that in the wake of the Nia Glassie convictions, CYF are imploring the public to report child abuse so it can be intervened with. And therein lies the problem, she says.
CYF Policy is to work towards reducing the Recurrence of abuse and neglect when children and young people have been harmed - i.e the child has to be harmed BEFORE they step in. Neighbours or extended family members can make Notifications about their concern for children's welfare, but CYF will not act until the harm has been caused.
Peter Hughes, CEO of CYF, is on record as saying that “parents have the right to raise their children in the manner of their choosing unless they cross a line of unacceptability, for example, by subjecting them to abuse”. He agrees that “child abuse can take other forms than physical. It may also be emotional or sexual in nature, or may be neglect”
So who decides where that line of unacceptability should lie? One of the reasons NZ has such a high rate of child abuse and death, must surely be that CYF places that line too high.
Lisa Kuka is reported as having admitted to using cannabis as Nia lay in a coma. It is therefore highly likely that cannabis use was not uncommon in that household, which would account for the brain-dead activities engaged in by those responsible for Nia's death.
But CYF will not listen to Grandparents who are concerned for the welfare of their grandchildren, knowing that one of the parents has impaired judgement due to substance abuse. They must wait until the parents' impairment is proven by the abuse of their children. CYF then step in to prevent the Recurrence of this abuse – but in too many cases a recurrence will not happen because the child is dead.
If ANY child's caregiver is a known substance-abuser, they must not be allowed to care for children. This is reflected in the Children's Commissioner's Care of Children Act 2004 which makes the “welfare of the child the most important priority”, and shifts the focus away from parents' rights, towards parents' responsibilities for their children. But Peter Hughes says that “while both agencies work together, they have differing roles.” He says “The Office of the Children's Commissioner has an important function in monitoring and assessing the policies and practices of CYF, but cannot direct CYF in its work'.
Similarly arrogant are Family Court Judges like the one who recently decreed that “The level of drugs shown in the father's drug test was not high enough to stop his 6 year-old son from being made to travel to Australia for school holiday visits.”
Children being allowed into the care of substance abusers are a disaster waiting to happen. ALL agencies charged with the welfare of children should be working together in order to protect children.
We now have a new Government who must make it a top priority to undertake a complete review of these Agencies. Intelligent systems must be put in place to flag and monitor families who come to their attention from ALL Notifications.
• Substance abusers must NOT be allowed to have unsupervised care of children until they have been PROVED to be drug/alcohol-free;
• Families known to CYF MUST be flagged and monitored;
• Families flying under the radar can be identified by neighbours and extended family – their reports MUST be heeded and the families investigated and monitored.
But the first step must be a change of leadership in CYF.
CEO Peter Hughes has headed an organisation that has seen far too many families known to CYF, kill their children in the last 2 years.
The roll call is heart-wrenching. It includes:
2006 – 18 month-old Cheyenne Peters, abandoned in the bush by her drug-addled mother and later found drowned in a stream. The mother had had 2 previous children removed from her because of neglect. Why was she not monitored by CYF?
2006 – Chris and Cru Kahui – sent home from hospital despite staff concerns over the mother's willingness to care for them. Macsyna King had already had 4 children removed from her care and admitted she smoked P in the days before they died. Why was she not monitored?
2006 - Child Youth and Family were reviewing the case of a 22-month-old toddler allegedly murdered by her mother in Dunedin to see if it could have done more to help.
2008 - Duwayne Pailegutu, 7 – murdered by his step-father. A spokeswoman for Child, Youth and Family told the Nelson Mail that no comment would be made on the agency's involvement with Duwayne's family until after Joachim was sentenced – and then the Judge ordered that all reports on this case were to be suppressed. Who is he protecting?
Until a NZ Government recognises its responsibility towards children and acts to assist them by changing the culture at CYF, more children will be abused, brain damaged or killed.