CYF Review: Panel must consult coal-face organisations
For immediate release Thursday 2 April 2015
CYF Review: Expert Panel must consult external organisations working at the coal-face
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust New Zealand welcomes Minister for Social Development, Anne Tolley’s decision to appoint an independent panel to review and lead a “complete overhaul of Child, Youth and Family.”
“This review is a long time coming and we support the Minister’s initiative to appoint this panel to work out how and why the CYF system is failing our children, young people, their families and caregivers,” says Diane Vivian, GRG Founder.
“But to fully understand the problems and how to fix them, the panel must also consult with grassroots community organisations like ours working at the coal-face with vulnerable children and their caregivers.”
“Too many of our grandparent caregivers and their grandchildren have had negative experiences dealing with CYF causing a lack of trust and confidence in the system and its ability to provide services that are in the best interests of the child.
“In our case we increasingly find that CYF staff are encouraging grandparents to take on the care of their grandchildren in circumstances where there are clear care and protection issues. But instead of making an application under the CYPF Act the grandparents are being encouraged to make an application under the Care of Children Act 2004. Once orders are made under CoCa and CYF are satisfied with the care arrangements, technically the child is no longer deemed to be ‘in need of care and protection’, so there is no jurisdiction for CYF to cover the ongoing costs of support services such as counselling, therapy and specialist help. The caregivers then get no help for these often traumatised and abused children who desperately need expert help and they are left, literally ‘holding the baby’. It doesn’t solve the problem for these vulnerable children, it just makes it someone else’s problem.”
“Compounding the problem is the difficulty caregivers then face trying to get financial support for these children from Work and Income, and there is a long overdue need to review the benefits and income support legislation too.”
“A top-down review of CYF will only result in workable reforms if it consults with NGOs and community organisations working with these families, because we hear the voices of those it affects most – the vulnerable children and their caregivers.” says Vivian.