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CYF Systemic Failure Due to under-Resourced Services

CYF Performance Forecast to Get Worse

CYF Systemic Failure Due to under-Resourced Community Services


Founder of PND-support charity Mothers Helpers, Kristina Paterson says that one of the biggest contributing factors to the ongoing poor performance of CYFs is the lack of financial investment into community services that are working with families, and with proposed Government funding changes this stands to only get worse.


"With the Ministry of Social Development concentrating on funding a small number of the larger community not-for-profit services and cutting funding to the smaller services, those services will be forced to close their doors - which means less support for families" says Kristina Paterson, Coordinator of Mothers Helpers, a postnatal-depression-support charity.

A damning report on Child, Youth and Family last week by Children's Commissioner Dr Russell Wills found that children in state care were being moved up to 60 times between multiple foster carers, and it revealed there were 117 cases of children abused while in CYF care.

"Part of the problem is that CYF have a huge volume of children referred to their service, social workers struggling with large caseloads and a high turnover of staff. Certainly there needs to be a thorough investigation and overhaul of a system that is clearly not working with the imput of social workers who can give valuable insight into what works and what doesn't - but that is not going to be enough without looking at reducing the number of children requiring CYF intervention. We can only do that through resourcing community agencies that are working directly with at-risk families at grassroots level."

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Mothers Helpers' aim is early intervention with mothers at-risk of developing postnatal depression to prevent things like poor attachment between mother and child or her depression becoming so severe that there is the risk of infanticide.

"There are lots of different factors that make a family more at-risk of neglecting or harming their children - moderate to severe postnatal depression is just one of them, but without adequate financial resources, the ability for community agencies to work with these families will reduce and that means more children under CYF care when they are already struggling."

Kristina founded Mothers’ Helpers to plug a gap in which at-risk mothers were failing to be identified, monitored or supported to recover from PND. Kristina is calling for a re-think on the Children's Action Plan to pull funding from smaller agencies working with at-risk families in light of this recent CYF report: “We would like to work with the Ministry of Social Development and the Children's Action Plan in being part of the solution.”


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