Independent CYF Watchdog No Longer Optional

Media Release 27 August 2015
Family First NZ is repeating its call for an independent watchdog to monitor the policies, procedures and the resourcing of CYF following the release of the Children’s Commissioner’s report today.

“If CYF was a family, it would have had state intervention by now. Despite the important work it does and some excellent social workers, there is increasing evidence of massive systemic failure in the organisation as a whole,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“A recent review by the ministry of Social Development found that CYF is massively understaffed and that social workers do not have manageable caseloads and workloads. One of the key comments was ‘….we are working with people and children and all of our decisions affect their lives forever. It would be good to be able to have the time and capacity to think, analyse and reflect rather than acting in the moment…’.”

“CYF perform a necessary function but the lack of accountability to their process and procedures and their overwhelming workload should concern all families. There is no external and independent accountability. We need CYF to get it right, and we need to know that they’re getting it right. That evidence is not there,” says Mr McCoskrie.

A report last year commissioned by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett supported Family First’s call for an independent CYF Complaints Authority.

“An independent watchdog for CYF will be in the best interests of the social workers, will result in public confidence and accountability for actions and decisions by CYF workers, establish appropriate workloads for social workers, and will protect families and children from abuse, and from abuse by the state,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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