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Dr Muriel Newman

Report lifts covers on child abuse

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CYF ReportChild abuse is never far from the headlines in New Zealand. We like to think of ourselves as a great country in which to live, work and raise our families. While that is the case for the vast majority of New Zealanders, for a vulnerable minority of children living in violent families, life falls well short of these ideals.

In 2007, the Labour Government banned smacking, telling us that would fix the child abuse problem. We knew that was a lie. The ban was purely political – Labour had lost an MP and passing Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking law was the price they had to pay for the Green Party’s support.

Over the years, there has been a great deal of tut tutting and hand-wringing by politicians about child abuse. Child, Youth and Family (CYF), the government’s care and protection agency, has been reviewed and restructured multiple times. But the problems for the children at the centre of the child abuse scandal remains.

The National-led Government is also committed to improving the situation and in April the new Minister of Social Development, Anne Tolley, set up an Expert Panel to develop a new child-centred operating model for CYF.

The Panel is led by Paula Rebstock, the Chair of the Work and Income Board, who oversaw the major reforms of social welfare. Along with her is Mike Bush the Commissioner of Police, Peter Douglas the former head of Maori Strategy for CYF, Duncan Dunlop the Chief Executive of an independent charity for young people in care in Scotland, Helen Leahy a Specialist Advisor for Ngai Tahu, and Professor Richie Poulton, the Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Social Development and the Director of Otago University’s Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, which is conducting one of the most detailed longitudinal studies of human health and development ever undertaken.

Last week the Minister released the Panel’s interim report, Modernising Child, Youth and Family – and an associated Cabinet paper – providing an insight into the nature of the agency’s deep seated problems and outlining the direction of their proposed reforms.

The Panel’s report helps us to understand why, in spite of the best efforts of those involved in preventing child abuse, we have failed to solve the problem.

Having examined the way CYF operates, the Panel has concluded that while there is a committed workforce and ‘pockets’ of good practice, the system as a whole is not delivering effectively for children and young people.

Essentially, while the overall number of children coming to the attention of CYF has been decreasing over recent years, an increasing proportion of cases relate to the re-victimisation of children already known to the service – in 2014, six out of ten care and protection notifications were for children previously referred to CYF.

In other words, the agency is failing to keep abused children safe from further harm.

The report identifies that the ‘average’ vulnerable child, who is between seven and eight years old, has had seven to eight different placements. For children who crave stability and love, such disruption in their lives has long term impacts.

The data shows that by age 21, of the children born in 1992 who were raised in state care:

• Almost 90 per cent were on a benefit
• More than 25 per cent were on a benefit with a child
• Almost 80 per cent did not have NCEA Level 2
• More than 30 per cent had a youth justice referral by the age of 18
• Almost 20 per cent had had a custodial sentence
• Almost 40 per cent had a community sentence

The Panel found that CYF is suffering from deep and systemic failure. Very few of the contracted services provided to vulnerable children and their families were being monitored or evaluated sufficiently to determine whether they work. The agency itself was unable to demonstrate that it is making a sufficiently positive difference in the lives of the children and young people it serves.

As a result, the Panel has produced a set of objectives outlining what they expect a child-centred care, protection and youth justice service to deliver:

1. Ensure children have the earliest opportunity for a loving and stable family
2. Address the full range of needs for each child
3. Prevent harm and re-victimisation of children
4. Help children to heal and recover
5. Support children to become flourishing adults
6. Help children and young people to take responsibility for their actions and live crime-free lives

Having identified the problems in the current system, the Panel is now designing a new operating model, to deliver to the government in December. The new system is expected to be rolled out in 2016.

The Panel believes that the long-standing vulnerability of many New Zealand children is the most pressing social issue confronting society today.

It is a problem that spans generations – the abused children of today, all too often become the abusers of tomorrow, not only creating new victims but generating enormous social costs in health, education, social welfare, housing, and the criminal justice system.

Most of the families of the children referred to CYF have high levels of disadvantage. Over a third of the parents were known to CYF as a child. There are high rates of welfare dependency and sole parenthood, along with unaddressed physical and mental health needs, alcohol and drug addictions, and family violence. In the five years prior to the birth of the child, in almost 70 percent of cases Police had records of at least one family violence incident, and in more than a third of cases, a parent had served a criminal sentence.

Children subjected to abuse have a greater tendency than other children for self-harm, risky sexual behaviour, obesity, drug and alcohol problems, poor mental health, and criminal behaviour. Those that require the intervention of CYF have dramatically worse outcomes as young adults than the rest of the population – they are far more likely to leave school with few qualifications, collect a benefit or receive a community or custodial sentence.

When it comes to the needs of abused children, the Panel found that their most basic desire is to be part of a family that loves and protects them. But the data on outcomes is damning.

Many children were not only re-abused while in State care (the report notes evidence of “significant re-victimisation of children and young people while in the care of the State”), but they were also subjected to abuse, once they were returned to their family or whanau.

Children being returned from care placements back into the care of their biological parents in their dysfunctional homes in 2010 were 23 times more likely to be abused than children who remained with unrelated carers. Children being returned to family or whanau placements were 10 times more likely to be abused.

These figures have led the Prime Minister to question the wisdom of a policy that requires vulnerable children to be sent back into the care of their dysfunctional families and whanau, rather than being found safe and stable homes elsewhere.

The problem is with the law as it stands – the preamble to the Children and Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 states that matters relating to children in need of care or protection must be “resolved, wherever possible, by their own family, whanau, hapu, iwi, or family group”.

In other words, the law requires vulnerable children to be placed back into the care of their families and whanau as a priority – even if more suitable carers are available.

John Key believes the law should be overhauled – when it comes to the safety of children, the best interests of the child should be the priority, rather then the needs of the family or whanau.

When it comes to caregivers, the Panel found that CYF has around 3,500 to call on, but of those, 1,500 or so would not have children in their care at any particular time.

Around 42 percent of all caregivers are social welfare beneficiaries, with almost half of the family or whanau caregivers on a benefit, and a third of unrelated carers. Quite simply, that means that many of those caring for the country’s most vulnerable children are themselves dependent on the State.

Astonishingly, the Panel found that in spite of the huge pressure for care beds – around 2,000 children go into state care each year with 5,000 in care at any one time – CYF has no nationally co-ordinated approach to recruiting caregivers. All too often this leads to vulnerable children, who crave a loving family environment, being re-traumatised by being placed in CYF residences.

As at February 2015, CYF employed around 3,200 full time staff, but less than 25 percent of those employees work directly with children in need of care or protection. And despite the complex nature of front-line work, less than 1 percent of the current workforce has a dedicated professional support role.

Overall, the Expert Panel found that in spite of the best intentions of CYF workers, the current operating model is focused on the system and processes, rather than on the needs of the child.

The overarching desire, expressed by abused children to the Panel, to belong to a family to love and care for them, raises vexed questions about whether the anti-adoption ideology that has long dominated welfare services in New Zealand is doing more harm than good.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, social researcher Lindsay Mitchell, who has been following all of these developments, thinks so:

“Adoption wasn’t always ideal but neither is constant upheaval from one foster placement to another or institutional care. Adoption appeared to produce a better result than the current philosophy of striving to keep the child with its birth mother or family at any cost. Because odds are, the child ends up in state care anyway, more damaged than he or she would have been if adopted out at birth.

“But isn’t wholesale shunning of adoption an over-reaction? There are many instances whereby newborns go directly into the care of CYF. The prospects for these children are bleak yet their rights seem trumped by the rights accorded to their birth parent and extended family. Babies aren’t simply removed from mothers by dint of being ‘illegitimate’. These babies are removed because their mothers are criminal; are incarcerated or live on the streets; have abused prior siblings and pose a serious threat to their newborn. The principle of redemption or second chances is all well and good when offered to the adult individual. But how many times should a child be exposed to known risks in order to satisfy liberal impulse?”

Without a doubt, adoption should be re-assessed, especially in light of the revelations by CYF Minister Anne Tolley that some abusive women have had up to seven children permanently removed from their care. The Minister says more needs to be done to discourage such negligent parents from having more children – and while that is certainly the case, finding such children permanent homes, rather than leaving them in State care, should surely be a priority.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that at the heart of the child abuse crisis are government incentives for women to have children they are ill-equipped to provide for. Until the State stops paying women to have babies, children will continue to suffer. The State is no substitute for a loving mum and dad, and no role model for a child. In fact it’s a tragedy that idealists have exerted such influence on policy and brought us to the systemic failure we have today.

The child abuse crisis is a national disgrace. Only the State could fail children on such a monumental scale. Anyone concerned should read the Expert Panel’s report. It helps to explain why, in spite of the very best efforts of those who are trying to help, the child abuse crisis continues unabated.


Do you agree that the child protection system needs to be overhauled?

Vote x 120

 *Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


The stats show it is not working in its present format. Fraser
We especially need to reassess the DPB. We should remove any additional funding for mother who have more children while on a DPB, this will certainly remove the incentive to breed for profit. Brent
Young women are already disempowered if they are having a child to fill some tribal quota as per Tariana Turia or to get an income and their wider family are dysfunctional. Why should these family members inherit these children when many are toxic already and many on state benefits? Would ‘enduring guardianship’ be an alternative instead of the word adoption? Monica
About time! Brian
Whilst I agree that the child protection system needs a radical overhaul, this alone will not fix the many problems. It may take more than a generation and parental responsibility and general parenting skills are at the heart of the matter. There is no school for teaching good parenting, and if one’s own role models were lacking it may well be that poor parenting is perpetuated. Peter
I read the report and this report reveals the fact that CYF is a government department keeping itself busy administering the hopeless misery of children and young persons brought into this world by utterly dysfunctional people who in turn have been through the same cycle like their parents and grandparents. In short: writing one paper after the other year after year is keeping a number of people in well paid jobs at tax payers expense and that is about it. To rid this country of a problem which can well be compared with a massive tumor in a patients body eating him alive– only radical surgery can give the chance of a cure. For decades it has been made so easy to bring children into this world and getting paid for it that it has become literally a lifestyle. How can one expect children to grow up properly it they are exposed to such a nihilistic lifestyle. Also interesting to read the stats in the report. That pretty much sums it up. It is useless to try to adress these symptoms if the roots of these problems are not dealt with.And that has to start with a program which is set up to reduce or delete benefits and therefore discouraging people to exploit the benefit system in the first place. Secondly people with a history of violence towards children have to be sterilized to prevent them from bringing more children into this world only to repeat what they have done before.More: Where are the tribes who have received hundreds of millions of taxpayers money. Why are they not asked to take responsibility for these dysfunctional people and besides: Most of them are of Maori descent are they not? Michael
We must endeavour to do far better than we are at present. Neil
Adoption should be resumed, there are many childless couples who would give anything for a baby, but they must be married and carefully assessed. Athol
Most definitely. David
Hope it works better than better than other times. Barry
Yes – to be kept and/or returned to an un-loving home/mother/environment only serves to damage the child for life, in every way! – emotionally, physically, psychologically, potentially sexually, mentally, educationally, socially, financially, EVERY way – I should know – it happened to me – I am 58 yrs old and have suffered with depressive disorder all my life, based upon post-traumatic stress disorder due to childhood trauma abuse and neglect. NB every childhood lasts a lifetime! Heather
It worked better in the past. Michelle
CYF has become a racially biased group who act in the interests of whanau not in the interests of the child whom they have removed from that very whanau for safety reasons! Get rid of CYFs and establish a group who put the child’s need ahead of racial demands. Susan
A totally NATIONAL DISGRACE! Always kow-towing to the family and NOT considering the child’s needs. An on-going ,self-perpetuating situation. Sylvia
It is our most urgent problem – even more important than allowing the National Govt to give away all fresh Wayer Rights to Maori Activists. And THAT’S a major problem in itself. MervB
No. What an enormous waste of time and money. CYFalis will never be effective. They act on cases that don’t require action while religiously ignoring cases of neglect and abuse right in front of their noses. Mark
Yes, it needs to be overhauled and I would also like to see a benefit to support the number of children the parent has at the time of applying for DPB but no additional benefit for subsequent children. Mother’s MUST take precautions to prevent further children. The DPB was always intended to be the ‘bridge’ across the ‘river of life’. No-one should camp on the bridge for life without moving on to full employment and self sustainability. Diana
Yes, Yes Yes. Albie
Hopeless irresponsible parents should be brought heel. Peter
There simply has to be more done through NZ’s many agencies to firstly ensure child safety from abusive and neglectful parents, and secondly to educate and rehabilitate the latter. Colin
In UK there have been exposures of “celebrity” paedofiles and also of Asian paedofile rings that target kids in homes and in foster homes and in any other situations where they are vulnerable. I think NZ will find they are just starting to scratch the surface of the real situation. Liz
Abused children need to be removed from the offending situation and people involved permanently, the policy of a child should be kept with their mother is just in many cases continuing the abuse. This Key Government continues to cut funding and services to our most in need and blames the victims. Peter
Just scrub the Domestic Purposes Benefit & that for starters will slow or stop the solo mums and force them to take responsibility for their actions. Eric
The current philosophy of striving to keep the child with its birth mother or family at any cost must be changed. The needs of the children should be put first. Tony
About Time. Ross
The parents who are neglecting the children are the ones that need the overhaul perhaps in the form of compulsary education and supervision Where are the whanau full of love and compassion in all this….or did I misread the claims about the Maori way? Judith
I/we.. have been saying this for yrx!! Everyone a person talks to maori, islander Fair kiwis, ALL..say the same!! But our governments, both sides, ignore the majority of this counties opinions, that is called corruption!! Pepper Brown
OMG .. you have got to be kidding! Maddi
Reading these comments etc.it seems obvious that a new part of cyps should specifically deal with state-wards, and, if legally possible, adoption become first-choice. Guus
Above all there must be a disincentive to have children, as a sols parent, to get increased benefit payments. David
Yes the system needs an overhaul, but the first thing that needs doing is for our politicians and maori hierarchy to admit this is mainly a maori problem, until they come to terms with the facts nothing will change, unfortunately we all know that the truth will never be told because that would be branded as racist and everyone in NZ is scared stiff of being branded that way. maori leaders like turia are encouraging young maori women to have as many kids as they can so they can up the numbers of maori and the tax payer (White people) are picking up the tab. Stop paying these low lives to have kids and we may notice some change. Stevo
Until people are made to realise they must be responsible forthemselves we are to put it bluntly farting against thunder. Welfare is the real culprit! People are encouraged to make the Govermint responsible for everything. This a very REAL failing of Democracy. In their desire or need to catch votes at any cost parties have taken us into an ever increasing spiral of electoral bribery and corruption out of which I personally can see no escape! Jim
The State must stop incentivising parents to have unwanted children. This was done in the USA (can’t remember which state). Unsurprisingly, some 14 years later there were significant decreases in juvenile crime. Colin
As an ex-school counsellor I believe it has been needed for years. Brian
Its the punishment for the offenders that needs to be overhauled and fines issued to offset the expenses paid by the tax payer to administer the laws ! ie , why make it the problem of the good people , who dont offend!! Roy
Whether colonisation of nz by a northern hemisphere country was by English migrants, French, Belgian or any one else, it was inevitable that because evolution progressed faster in the north than the south that some country or other would would find their way here. Would anyone else have been a better partner for Maori than at present? Do we not share equally at present? Are there concerns not given fair hearing. What needs to change? Barry
Absolutely. And while we are about it we need to look at a scheme whereby the potentially worst mothers are offered cash to get sterilized. Unless the mold is broken with some sort of scheme like this the problem will just continue to get worse and worse. Ronmac
The present government is very badly slacking in its duties to care and protect the majority of not only the children but the whole people of our country as well and striving to pas on the buck to make things easier for its self! Theodorus
The first of the above two requirements demand a natural 2-parent family – a Mum and a Dad. The well-being of children can not be seriously considered outside of the well-being of the family. Barend
The old system is dysfunctional. Neil
Remove requirement for children to put back with what au who are the very ones who abuse them. And it is time the whanau of the are made accountable for outrageous disregard of the wellbeing of children around them. Dianne
Needs a severe overhaul pronto, pronto! Nigel
I think compulsory sterilisation should be a matter of course should someone prove beyond all doubt that they are incapable of n Being a good parent and raising a child responsibly. Far to many beneficiaries are having children in order to increase their benefit income. This in turn leads to neglected children who suffer because of the irresponsible actions of the parent. Parents would be the wrong term because most of these beneficiaries are single parents as I have often said. Welfare has not solved a thing but has increased poverty and abuse both of women and children. The system is broken and needs to be fixed in order to stop the inter generational welfare reliance and abuse.. Allan
It should be the parents who are in control of their children.. not the state Too much emphasis on the child and not on the parent. Ngaire
It needs to look at the ethnic background of child abuse, but that is not PC. Edward
This is way more important to NZ than the current waste of time and money that is John Key’s flag debate red herring. John
I was an educational psychologist for 34 years, spent many years working with CY&F staff, Child Abuse panel from 1989, & the Family Court. I believe we have an increasing brken system from about 1989 from which no effective service has emerged. Cyril
Considering the cost of nurturing a newborn to responsible adulthood the state offers a ridiculously small amount. The current taxpayer ability to pay that cost is impossible. something has to be done to limit the conceiving of children born to people who are unaware of what is before them. Murray
It has defied common sense for years and seemed more for trendy liberal academics of the 70`s. The child should be the focus and centre of rights not some druggie or parent with mental and behavioral problems. Richard
It is an absolute disgrace and needs a full investigation. Its people not political points that we need to focus on, many lives have been totally messed up. Anthony
Yup, it’s crap, just like access to justice for the impoverished. Andy
Most definately. Stop bad people having children. Barbara
The majority of the children concerned can never get the loving family home they really need from a dysfunctional parent or parents, and parcelling them out to beneficiaries who (like their mother) are paid to “have” them will usually be little better; perhaps worse. So simply blaming the department is not the answer. It has simply followed the law and sent the kids to live with the only people it could fairly easily find. A total re-think of the whole situation is the only solution. As a minimum: (1) Stop paying women to have babies and go on having them %u2014 one has some sympathy with the suggestion of compulsory neutering and criminal penalties for second offenders. (2) Adoption; with the most careful checks that the adopters are suitable and follow-up monitoring. Robin
Stop pandering to Maori and make adoption easier were as currently if one family adopt a Maori child the mother can claim that child at any time no certainty for the adopted parents so the system is screwed in favor of Maori and extended family. Reduce the benefit for mothers who keep producing more children and introduce birth control as a reqiurment in receiving a benefit and reduce the burden on the tax payer. Ken
Put more funds into Plunket services and parent education and support. Dorothy
A parent who has one child removed from their ‘care’ due to abusive behaviour must be considered a prime candidate for compulsory sterilisation and certainly must never be permitted to care for other children. One strike and they’re out. Children are too precious to use as bargaining chips. Alan
Too many abused children are sent back to their abusive parents. I believe adoption would hopefully solve some of this problem. Why are abused children sent to foster homes to be abused then sent back to their own parents for much the same treatment? Something has to be done, should have been done years ago. Kerin
It is well known that good childless couples often wait years to adopt a child. Some are never successful. I am astonished that there were only 21 adoptions in 2011/12. Yes whilst not ideal, an adoption is better than some of the appalling situations children are subjected to. Why has adoption been done away with. PC reasons?? Families with a record of child abuse, must be prevented from producing more children. Do it and disregard the PC issues. Reinstate adoption. For all the trumpeting success of whanau ora is it really doing a good job? It wastes money on hip hop overseas travel and gang reunions. Those groups cannot be trusted to spend our tax dollar carefully. Get rid of them. All this bowing and scraping to the gimme gimme gimme crowd does no one any good. Chris.
I have personal experience when speaking to young solo mothers of their intention to have more children so they will never need to work. Sadly all I have spoken with were proud of the fact that they could live in this way and always have WINS provide income for them. John
Full review is long overdue. Jim
It is always important to review what is in place and establish if it requires change or restructure. Warren
The fact that a large proportion of the children dend on the support of those who are themselves dependent is mortifying. Bryan
Its a terrible thing no one seems to care the parents or usually parent that neads to be made far more accountable if ya cant look after the kids DONT have them there is no excuse. Peter
And implement it without delay. Sterilise mothers who ‘Give away’ their new born on a continual basis. Forget ‘their rights’ when the give away their first born they get away their rights without question. Allan J Edmondson
And bring back smacking! Wayne
It’s not working now and it costs us with long term issues. Andrew
The statement “in spite of the best intentions of CYF workers, the current operating model is focused on the system and processes, rather than on the needs of the child.” says it all. Typical bureaucracy Den
I agree adoption should be resumed.Once a childs parents show chronic abuse patterns they should no longer have rights over that child.Family could have adoption priority but if no one in family is wanting to adoot than better to give to someone who desperately wants a child. JC
It is hard to believe that it has taken so many years for “the experts” to discover what most NZ’s have known for many years. Elayne
It would be interesting to see the breakdown on ethnicity with this problem Ian
Absolutely! Two things: How many of these children are born to solo mothers on a benefit, and what is the ethnicity of the “CYF”‘s children? Stopping the cycle of multiple births to mothers on the dole by stopping the benefit after the first “solo” child would I suspect go a long way towards breaking the cycle of welfare dependency and the cycle of abuse of children with fathers unknown to the current male partner. Maurice
It’s a disgrace. Lee
Our future depends on it. Dave
No woman should receive additional funding for any children conceived after receiving the DPB. They should have a choice of abortion, adoption or financial (and other) support from family and friends. DPB should only be available to women in a formal relationship escaping abuse. Then watch abuse rates plummet. Peter
Most of the horrendous child abuse and murder offences seem to occur in single mother/boyfriend situations. 50 years ago single mothers were more or less forced to give up their babies for adoption, and most of those children were brought up in loving relationships by parents who couldn’t have children of their own. Such a system seems to me to be eminently preferable to the present one. Terry
Love (Aroha) cannot be provided by the State. David
Yes Yes Yes !!! Lynn
All children need two loving parents. Many Of them are forced into this world only to live abused lives because the laws make it so hard to adopt. Those wishing to do so are faced with such stringent requirements to qualify, but the parents of those unfortunate and innocent children did not deserve or indeed meet the common standards expected of a parent. They didn’t want the babies nor do they have the resources or love to nurture them. Change the systems and give these little people a fair chance to a happy life. They are never going to get it until this happens. Robyn
Absolutely it needs to be overhauled. Frank
It is amazing that common sense is not applied and “whanau” is nothing more than a word in fact in many cases a lie. when will somebody own up to there responsibility if they continue to want to have their system on a racial basis. Lance
There used to be a license to breed over 40 years ago. It was called a Marriage license. Now anything goes and we reaping the rewards of the well intentioned introduction in 1973 by the Kirk Labour government. We should not pay women to have children that they cant afford to look after. The cycle must be stopped as it goes on through from one generation to the next. CYP’s will never work as it places vulnerable children back with their hopeless parents who have abused them in the first place. If these women want to breed then take the children from them at birth and let them be adopted into families with loving parents who will look after them and place their welfare above their own. I can only Imagine what the Do Gooders in many of the welfare agencies and their bleeding hearts would have to say if any Government with the courage to bring this about. It is tough but it is tough on the perpetrators who would then learn a lesson which will hopefully stop them from carrying on irresponsibly again . Over the last 40 years we have paid out hundreds of billions of dollars to purchase poverty, misery hopelessness and child and domestic abuse murders and countless other antisocial behaviour problems. The Governments over the years have stuffed the traditional 2 parent family and the old saying that when th family if strong so is the nation. Colin
There also needs to be a serious look at the Maori culture of no personal responsibility. Blaming colonisation for all child abuse carried out by whanau is what Tariana Turia and other Maori leaders strongly advocate as an excuse and while this attitude is entrenched in Maoridom, child abuse will continue and worsen. Robby
Muriel’s essay is brilliant. My comments: CYFS remove too many children, often the wrong children, and break them. “The best interests of the child” must lie within its family where possible. Instant adoption before a full court hearing is wrong. Benefits: the cause of and the solution to most of our problems. Alan
More PC Rubbish being pushed by do gooders in our society. It also needs to be said that social welfare has long gone past its intended function. Also that most of these kids are part Maori and their whanau close ranks and will not report abuse to the police. Unfortunately as soon as you point this out the gutless PC brigade call you racist. Greg
Child abuse is alive and well in NZ, but if we take out the maori stats we all of a sudden become one of the best countries in the world. The only way to stop this is to have maori take ownership of their problems and do something about it instead of blaming Whitey for everything. Stevo
Because it certainly isn’t functioning successfully now. Peter
It is clear that family is likely to be just as dysfunctional. There are many childless couples who would love a child to adopt and could bring up in a wonderful home. Ties with original family need not be severed (within reason) so identity can still be retained. Mike
Let us strat with bringing back some dicipline into our country. It is no good pointing the finger at the younsters. The powers to be at CYF must lead be example. “Do as I show you, not as I tell you.” Johan
We must stop giving money to women – particularly Maori women -to have children. What has not been stated is that Maori are the biggest offenders in this abuse process yet we hand them more and more money to have children and then allow them to have them back into the family ranks so that they can continue to abuse them. Drugs and alcohol play a huge part in all this also I suspect. Let us forget the touchy feely feminist nonsense and get back to basics. John
No doubt it needs to be overhauled. However, putting outcomes into practise is the hardest part. Dennis
Should Mike Bush be on this panel, he has a wauped sence of justice, staiting thast a policeman that planted evidence was an upstanding man, how many otherrs on the panel are questionable. John
Most definitely it needs changing to protect the child. Margaret
Serious consideration of adoption should be an option. Albert
Child abusers need to be sterilized. People claim that this is state control. A dictator system, similar to Hitler’s Germany. Remember too that Hitler also farmed babies. He developed little Nazis: we develop little criminals with generations on welfare. Politicans have little to lose by stopping the gravy train. Why are they so scared to take this stance? Peter
The child protection system needs to be look at and then do the right thing for the children. Some people should not have children, as they are only children them self. Robert
Not a word in your preamble about the fact that 50% of the children in CYPS care are Maori and that Maori seem to think that giving children who have been abused back to their whanau is ok when it obviously is not. Roger
I am old enough to recall the earlier system, pre DPB, under which an illegitimate child was offered for adoption if the mother was unable to provide for it. There were always more adoptive parents than there were children available. The various policies that reduced the family values, and ndeed the family structure itself, resulted in the phenomenen of the single mother, supported by the taxpayer. The oportunity this support offered to some of the less mature young women was quickly seized on with many seeing a lifetime of being paid for doing very little. They had, and srill do not have, an appreciation that their responsibility to their child is going to cost them their freedom to continue their earlier life in the company of their friends. They find they must choose whether the child is more or less important than their lifestyle. A sadly high number choose to pursue the company of their friends, with a resulting increase in visits from assorted men they have met who have no interest in the child, who is now at risk. The mother has a fixed income from her benefit, but has a dual lifestyle, and thus becomes financially crippled. A likely intergenerational benefit dependancy will mean she is less likely to have budgetting skills. The solution is clear – do away with the DPB except in genuine cases (such as widowhood) and demand more accountibility from the mother. After all, there would be very few cases where the mother has had no choice about her sexual activity, birth control practices, abortion or adoption. Theo
Current system is totally unacceptable. Dave
The bias against adoption needs to be reviewed also. My birth mother was best described as unstable. I was adopted at birth, my two younger sisters were cared for by the wider family. We all agree that I had a “normal” life. My sisters did not.. Adoption is not ideal but neither is being cared for by wider family who really don’t want the child. Ann
CYF is operated by people with failings We had a number of dealings with them a few years ago We had one lady who failed with her own family but expected care givers to make up for her mistakes We had a group situation to support 4 Children with the consent of all involved CYF would not hear of it so did there own thing and the girls of the family were abused the man ended up in jail and CYF said they were not responsible for the situation so unless they are making the plans every body eles are idiots to them Thee were several other cases along the same lines so no wonder there organisation is always in chaos. Russell
No organisation can overcome the situation unless a trained level of staff is increased beyond comprehension. Parents must be MADE to look after their children-not the taxpayer. David
Go for it….a whole generation is being short-changed on life – and this will be passed on to their children – what are we doing to our (their) future as a country? Maggie
Definately. Clark
Start pre-conception & put the child’s rights first. Fiona
Stop the births. What family wants to try snd raise a maladjusted child that started when pregnancy began !! Brian
That a so-called caring, efficient government can permit the atrocities still perpetrated against children to continue is a disgrace and should be a shame to everyone in our government. Shirley
It certainly appears so. However it appears to start at the Act of Parliament and not just the department handling the children. Kevin
Adoption is a viable option. Another idea that I have considered is also perhaps like a ‘boarding school’, which is of course, subject to checks and controls. The children have access to good food/education/sports and not only that community support, in which they are not ostracised, as all the children there are peers, nobody being ‘the odd one out’ so to speak. A modern day orphanage, I guess, without the stigama or cruelty (perceived or otherwise). Fiona
I would suggest that CYF is the main reason that more suitable carers do not come forward. I would not be prepared to foster children that I feared would be taken from me to be returned to their abusive parents, and I would not be prepared to be overlooked by a system that appears to be more about liberal ideology than loving parenthood. Hilary
Don’t send them to carers who are on a benefit they come from there and think that is the norm. Jim
Absolutely. Graeme
Better qualified people doing the actual care-giving at the “coal-face”, rather than polishing administrative seats. Roger
The DPB should be abolished in its current form. Michael
Absolutely! It is shocking that this sort of review hasn’t been done before. It shows that the present system cannot succeed. Let’s hope the reforms are successful. Pauline
I can’t believe that so many carers are beneficiaries. Wouldn’t it be better for children to be placed in the care of families independent of the state? John
CYF has been dysfunctional for years. the overhaul is long overdue. Nigel
Why haven’t these problems already been dealt with? It is children’s lives that are at stake. Kate
Well done Anne Tolley for having some gumption! Andrew