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Public want better screening of child caregivers

Public want better screening

August 15, 2012

A mentoring programme specializing in screening male volunteers welcomes the public call for more rigorous screening of caregivers.

The call was highlighted in the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children - an executive summary of the 10,000 submissions made on how we can better protect our most vulnerable children.

Big Buddy has screened over 500 male volunteers using an innovative 360 degree screening process to make sure men are safe before they are matched with fatherless boys.

A Ministry of Social Development high-trust provider, the organization has had zero abuse accusations and no litigation since the mentoring programme began in 1997.

CEO Richard Aston says he is pleased to finally see a public call for more rigorous screening of caregivers and hopes it will be heeded by Child, Youth and Family and many other organizations involved in the care of children - particularly our most vulnerable children.

"Quite frankly, what most organizations are doing at the moment is simply not good enough. There's endless talk of more monitoring, reporting and information sharing but at the end of the day it's about making sure children are not in the care of abusers. Check the adults out first - simple as that."

Richard Aston says between 3,500 and 5000 children are placed in Child, Youth & Family care each year.

“That’s a lot of children and if CYFs is going to continue removing children from abusive homes, they’d better start making sure they are not going into even more abusive situations. That is simply immoral to my mind.”

The Green Paper submissions also call on the Government to expand specific programmes and services, including mentoring programmes. It also highlighted the need for improved contracting and funding arrangements.

“I’d certainly support that,” says Richard Aston. “We currently get 8% of our funding from Government in what is an increasingly challenging funding environment. Kids identified in their Green Paper submissions that what makes a real difference to their lives is having ‘someone who believes in them, someone who loves them and someone who they can talk to’. Big Buddy’s goal is to make sure every fatherless boy has a good man in their lives that will help meet that need. We need Government to help us deliver on it.”

For more information go to www.bigbuddy.org.nz

ENDS

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