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6000 Children Waiting for social workers

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 11:13 AM

Nearly 6000 children waiting for social workers


Almost 6000 New Zealand children are languishing on waiting lists as Child, Youth and Family Services battles a flood of new notifications after the Coral-Ellen Burrows murder.

The unallocated caseload had doubled since June, with 4600 cases waiting to be allocated to a social worker -- and a further 1000 children yet to have their cases entered into the computer system, The Press newspaper reported today.

A surge in notifications was triggered by the death of Coral-Ellen Burrows last year, with the agency's inability to cope sparking fears of another avoidable child death.

Acting general manager of social work Shannon Pakura said suspected abuse notifications had increased by 40 per cent in December and January.

"In my view, the increased waiting list is due to the publicity at the end of last year surrounding the Burrows case. That really placed a lot of pressure on the department, and there has been a particular surge in urgent and low-urgent notifications."

After a series of high-profile child abuse cases, the agency received a $120 million emergency cash injection in October -- including immediate money for 112 extra social workers and 28 other front-line staff.

Ms Pakura said most of those staff had been employed and would provide short-term relief, and work had already started on entering information from the 1000 cases into the computer system.

An interim demand strategy, which would find a way to deal with the increase, was almost complete. Part of the strategy included the possibility of administration support for social workers.

"We are taking the increase [in notifications] seriously. Treasury is certainly aware of it, but what we need to find out is whether or not all this information needs a response from CYF or whether community organisations can help."

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 04:14 PM

Get Dyson Out Of CYF
Thursday, 11 March 2004, 5:07 pm
Press Release: ACT New Zealand

Get Dyson Out Of CYF

Thursday 11 Mar 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

Reports of almost 6,000 children languishing on the Department of Child, Youth and Family's waiting list are proof that Labour is failing to protect abused children, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"These figures show there is a crisis in child welfare, and demonstrate the Labour Government's inability to turn the department around," Dr Newman said.

"First we saw Minister Steve Maharey fall on his sword, and pass the hot CYF potato to Minister Ruth Dyson. These reports show that she too is incapable of handling this most vital area of governance.

"Every government has an obligation to protect and help vulnerable and abused children. With CYF's record reading like a litany of tragedy, the Labour Government is clearly failing to fulfil this duty.

"Each CYF failure is a child lost; a child whose future has been damaged - sometimes beyond repair. I am calling on Prime Minister Helen Clark to address this most serious issue. Minister Ruth Dyson should be removed from the CYF portfolio, and replaced with someone who can do the job," Dr Newman said.


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Posted 11 March 2004 - 04:15 PM

NZ First Calls For Action Over Child Abuse
Thursday, 11 March 2004, 4:42 pm
Press Release: New Zealand First Party

Media Release
11 March 2004

NZ First Calls For Action Over Child Abuse

“The dangerously high levels of reported and undiagnosed child abuse and neglect is an outrageous and shameful state of affairs,” said Bill Gudgeon, New Zealand First social services spokesperson.

“The so called umbrella of the welfare state has been mislaid or broken for the 6000 children awaiting allocation in the failing Child Youth and Family Department. All the excuses and hand wringing is of no comfort to small children who silently await a lifeline.

Mr Gudgeon is calling upon the Prime Minister to step in and personally oversee the much-needed change for the troubled department.

“Our children have an absolute right to better treatment. If adults had a 6000 waiting list for potentially life threatening situations the machinery of government would act faster. Its time to take better care of New Zealand children,” said Mr Gudgeon.

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 04:16 PM

Increase in child abuse notifications
Thursday, 11 March 2004, 4:45 pm
Press Release: Public Service Association

PSA Press Release
March 11, 2004

Increase in child abuse notifications requires urgent response

The disclosure of a near-doubling of suspected child abuse notifications in January and December requires an urgent response by the Government and by Child Youth and Family Services, PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said today.

“The PSA and our members working in Child Youth and Family are most concerned at the risk to vulnerable children caused by the significant increase in waiting lists. Some of these will be our most at-risk children.”

Richard Wagstaff said the PSA acknowledges that the rescue package the department received late last year went some way towards alleviating the pressure on social workers, but the surge in suspected abuse notifications means they are still struggling to cope under intolerable pressure. This leads to the unacceptable situation where professional social workers, in order to cope with increasing caseloads, find their standards are compromised by inadequate resources.

“The PSA is aware that as a result of the injection of funds last year, Child Youth and Family is working on new long term strategies, systems, and processes to help turn around the difficulties of the past. It is evident, however, that more needs to be urgently done in the short term to assist our social workers in carrying out what is a most difficult and sensitive job.

“We believe an immediate injection of social workers and other resources are required to deal with this problem. We are aware that an approximate 900 applicants responded to last year’s recruitment campaign. Any bottlenecks in the Call Centre could be resolved quickly by directing additional capacity there, and we believe additional administration support for social workers would go a long way towards alleviating the pressure.”

Richard Wagstaff said the PSA believed that Child Youth and Family could explore other short term measures such as monitoring arrangements to ensure those on the waiting lists are not coming to further harm.

“We are of the firm belief that the current level of Government funding to Child Youth and Family is vastly exceeded by the demands being placed on the department and ultimately our members.”

#5 User is offline   twostickswalking 

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 04:59 PM

I agree totally with this, if you want to hear a story about the alleged harrassment
and alleged bullying of a social worker with a disability, go to the The Marlbourogh
20 Nelson Street, Blenhiem 18, 19th March.

The story will be told, and , it will show the total disregard to those with a disability, seems if they do this to there own social workers, god help all the children out there with a disability of course as always this is my opinion

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 07:14 AM

Child welfare groups 'locked out' by CYF
12 March 2004

Child welfare groups say they want to rescue some of the at-risk children waiting to be seen by Child Youth and Family Services but have been locked out by the department.

"CYF could tell the minister tomorrow about the 10, 20, 100 agencies who could immediately be contracted and negotiated with to do the work," said Maxine Hodgson, social worker chief of Hamilton agency Parentline. "Why isn't it happening? Why aren't we able to get near them? This is a civil defence emergency and nothing is being done."

More than 5000 children are waiting to be seen by social workers following an unheard-of 40 per cent surge in child abuse notifications in the wake of the Coral-Ellen Burrows murder.

Surges are usual after high profile child killings, but CYF confirmed no special strategy had been drawn up.

In November, the department's chief executive, Jackie Pivac, resigned in the wake of a scathing review.

CYF says it is fixing problems highlighted in the review, including spending millions allocated for better systems and nearly 100 extra staff.

CYF minister Ruth Dyson said no one could have predicted the extent of the surge. The department was building systems to manage workload, regardless of fluctuations. "That's where the focus has been, not on one of knee-jerk reactions, but on a really major change in the way that we run the organisation."

Acting general manager of social work Shannon Pakura said over 70 new social workers were completing training and were nearly ready for duty. "All our social workers are out there working really hard. We have not been sitting on our hands."

She hoped to have a system in place with community agencies in a month. But they needed to work out what the groups would do.

Ms Hodgson said her agency, which had more than 26 years' experience in child protection, and others had been offering to help for more than two years.

"If we had 10 or 15 children in an A&E department who weren't being treated there would be nurses in there the next day through private agencies."

Heather Henare, of Wellington's Child Protection Services, agreed community agencies could do more, but their ability to take on statutory, front-line social work needed to be carefully looked at.

The Public Service Association said the department should consider temporarily employing some of the more than 900 social workers who applied for jobs in its recent recruitment campaign.,00.html

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