Jacinda Ardern |
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 – 15:58
Children picked up from homes that have been used to make methamphetamine are not being followed-up adequately by Child Youth and Family, or by Minister Paula Bennett, says Labour’s Social Development and Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.
“These kids are living in physically dangerous environments and toxic social settings and yet it seems frontline cops are the only ones keeping tabs on their safety.
“Research carried out by an Auckland lawyer has found that while police are routinely alerting CYF to cases where children are found to be living in meth labs, the agency is not routinely following them up. In fact in some cases, children are being returned to homes where illegal activity is continuing.
“It is a real concern that Police have a protocol to deal with children found in meth labs and CYF do not.
“CYF’s response to questions about how many children had been referred to them by the police, and what had happened to each child in terms of long term placement, was that it couldn’t or wouldn’t provide the information.
“Paula Bennett confirmed she has never received any briefings on this issue either.
“With more than 480 children found in meth labs already, the harm posed by residential production of methamphetamine is not insignificant. The Police clearly realise that and have had a protocol in place for several years.
“These children are exposed not only to dangerous and explosive chemicals, but hair analysis also shows levels of methamphetamine in their system can be equivalent to those of a meth user.
“These children are hardly being ‘cared for’ by their parents. In situations such as this CYF should commit to taking custody of the child, organising medical examinations to ensure the child’s health, and arranging for the safe placement of the child.
“Until CYF adopt some common sense practices and protocols around this issue, as many other countries do, these children – through no fault of their own – will continue to be at risk.”