Family First welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister of Child Youth and Family to begin the process of establishing an independent CYF Complaints Authority.
“Parents who feel they have been unfairly treated by the Child, Youth and Family and have had their families torn apart have had no avenue for appeal – no independent body,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First. “This is grossly unfair when families are being ripped apart, often just based on the subjective judgment of a social worker.”
“The CYFSWatch New Zealand blog site has simply been a ‘release valve’ for the many many families frustrated by the lack of independent accountability required of CYF.”
The Minister for CYF acknowledged during Question Time in Parliament last year that there is no recording of the number of complaints made to CYF, and no central database that captures all complaints made to Child, Youth and Family staff.
Parents have also been totally unsatisfied with the lack of response and support from the Commissioner for Children.
“This Authority will also be in the best interests of the social workers,” says Mr McCoskrie, “as it will provide an independent body to ensure that appropriate policy and procedures have been followed. This will result in public confidence and accountability for actions and decisions by CYF.”
Mr McCoskrie warns that the success of any Complaints Authority will depend on its independence – it can not be social workers investigating other social workers.
“When dealing with the breakdown and dysfunction of any family, for the sake of the children and the family we have to get it right as often as we possibly can. Accountability and transparency will increase the likelihood of this,” says Mr McCoskrie.