Jacinda Ardern |
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 – 15:29
Cases of children at risk of serious abuse or even death are not being followed up by Child Youth and Family as staff struggle to cope with an increasing number of notifications, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
She is calling for a baseline review of the agency.
“In at least one instance a child, deemed to have been either severely abused, or possibly in immediate danger of death or harm, was not assigned a case worker until five days after CYF was notified.
“In a critical situation like that CYF is supposed to send someone in within 24 hours.
“In a case, deemed ‘very urgent’ (where a child has been abused or neglected and they remain at risk), it took up to 31 days to allocate to a social worker, rather than the target 48 hours.
“Child, Youth and Family receive on average more than 400 reports of suspected abuse and neglect every day. The number of notifications requiring further action has risen 50 per cent, from 40,739 in 2008 to 61,074 in June 2012.
“Given mounting evidence of the strain CYF is under I believe it’s time the Government took a serious look at its resourcing and processes.
“This is not about blaming individuals, but time and again we hear reports of children being found in shocking circumstances – even when CYF has had some involvement.
“A review of CYF, carried out by the Labour Government in 2003, revealed systemic problems within Child, Youth and Family. It recognised then that increasing demand for services needed to be addressed and that the agency required greater support. Labour gave it that support.
“Ten years on and it’s time we repeated the exercise. If not, it will be our most vulnerable kids who will pay the price.”