Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


CYFs report - Too much talk - not enough walk

CYFs report - Too much talk - not enough walk

August 28, 2015

A social agency working with fatherless boys says the lack of Government action on protecting children in care beggars belief.

Big Buddy CEO Richard Aston has been lobbying for better screening of caregivers for five years and says the Government has had plenty of time to act.

“Too much talk – not enough walk,” says Richard Aston, whose agency robustly screens volunteer mentors and matches them with fatherless boys. “Child, Youth and Family (CYF) is well aware of the vigorous vetting scrutiny we put our mentors under – they’ve known about it for years. Yet children in State care are still being physically and sexually abused. Ignorance I can forgive; wilful neglect I can’t.”

The abuse was highlighted in Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills report – State of Care 2015 - on the child protection agency. Russell Wills said CYF is good at investigating and reacting to abuse notifications but the rest of its operations were highly variable with core issues around workforce capacity and capability.

Richard Aston says he agrees with a CYFs worker who described the culture as “dump and run” in relation to placing children in care.

“I’ve recently supported one of our Little Buddies, who is in care, in court. That kid has had more homes than me and he’s only 16. And his case is not unusual. Professionals expecting him to ‘act appropriately’ defines stupidity in my opinion.”

Richard Aston says CYFs referrals to his agency are on the increase as over-worked social workers strive to reduce their workloads by referring on to under-funded agencies like Big Buddy.

“They can tick a box saying they did something. Then it’s someone else’s problem. The reality is very little funding follows that referral, despite long negotiations with the Ministry of Social Development over funding. We simply cannot keep picking up the pieces without more support.”

Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft says an overwhelming majority of young people coming through the Youth Court have care and protection backgrounds and 83% of prisoners under 20 have a CYFs record. Some 83% of the youth offenders are male and 70% come from single parent families.

“We’ve got 5000 Kiwi kids in care at any one time,” says Richard Aston. “That’s a hell of a lot of kids queuing up for the criminal justice system.”

He says the cost of rigorous vetting is inconsequential compared to the cost of picking up the pieces. “We’re talking about a massive emotional, social and economic cost here. Domestic violence is estimated to cost up to $7 billion annually and the cumulative costs over the next 10 years will climb to $78 billion if nothing changes.”

“The big question is do we have the will to stop it?”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Compensating Afghan Civilian Casualties

Reportedly, there have been nine incidents resulting in 17 civilian deaths and injuries (seven of the dead were children) caused by ordnance left behind on what used to be the firing range of our Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamiyan province.

Given that the NZ Defence Force has needed to be hauled kicking and screaming into belatedly arranging an adequate clean-up of its old firing range… what would it take before New Zealand offers to pay compensation to the families of those who suffered death and injury from what was left behind on our watch? More>>


Predator Free: $3.5m For New Pest Controls

New Zealand First is proud to announce the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has allocated $3.5 million to develop innovative predator control approaches which will reduce the need for repeated 1080 use. More>>


Children's Day: Commissioner Calls For Govt Commitment

“Three decades on, we are able to celebrate some significant changes for children like the recent launch of a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. But we still have a long way to go to prioritise children’s rights.” More>>


Elections: Proposed Electorate Boundaries Released

The Representation Commission is proposing changes to half of New Zealand’s electorates and establishing a new electorate in south Auckland… More>>


"Effectively A Permanent Amnesty": Final Month For Gun Ban Compensation

The firearms buy-back comes to an end a month from today, but the police say the amnesty for returning banned guns will continue into next year and beyond. More>>




Overseas Investment Rules: New National Interest Test

The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers... More>>


Matter Of Trust: Peters Says NZ First Loans Legal

"Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years." More>>






InfoPages News Channels