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CYFS changes should not overshadow the funding crisis

7 April 2016

CYFS changes should not overshadow the funding crisis

Proposed changes to Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) look promising, but should not overshadow that there is still an urgent funding crisis in CYFS, the Green Party said today.

“There are children who need the urgent support of CYFS today, and they matter,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“There aren’t enough social workers, they don’t have enough time, the carers need support, and families are waiting.

“Low income, poor housing and barriers to education also exacerbate the need for state intervention.

“Supporting families is key to helping kids, and the challenge for Government is ensuring that families have what they need to give their kids a good life.

“Reforming CYFS is one part of the solution for families. The families that need help with their kids need a living wage, healthy and secure housing, and access to high quality early childhood and primary and secondary education.

“Rather than focusing on what happens after kids are in CYFS’s system, more resources need to go into supporting the families to care for themselves.

“Whānau ora has already been working with families and kids and is showing some positive outcomes. The challenge for Government is to make sure that these family based models get the support and funding over the long term.

“The funding still needs to be secured to deliver these changes, and this should be delivered in the Budget. Urgent funding can be allocated today.

“I support raising the age of care to 18. It was an anomaly that left young people short on the care that they needed during an important transition. Having further support until the age of 25 is also a positive initiative to ensure a successful transition.

“Supporting at-risk families needs to consider the people involved, and moving towards a more child centric view is definitely a step in the right direction.

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