Family First says the announcement by the government this week of an independent appeal body for immigrants – the Immigration and Protection Tribunal – suggests that the welfare and rights of immigrants is far more important than the welfare and rights of parents who are being investigated by Child Youth and Family.
“We have been asking for an independent and accessible CYF Complaints Authority for parents for years – without success,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The Immigration body was established to meet international obligations, yet the obligation to allow parents to appeal the intrusion of state agencies into families is being ignored. ”
“The government also said that the immigration body would enhance the public perception that the appeals are heard independent from the influence of government policy. Once again, this is the same plea from families involved with CYF.”
“An independent CYF Complaints Authority is also in the best interests of social workers 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 workers.”
“There is a Health and Disability Commissioner, a Police Complaints Authority, a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal, and now an Immigration and Protection Tribunal. We desperately need an independent body to hear complaints about the highly sensitive nature of intervening in families,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First is calling on all MP’s – the majority who will have received anecdotal evidence of claims of unfair treatment by CYFS – to support the urgent establishment of an independent CYF Complaint Authority.
“If immigrants deserve an independent basis for appeal, then surely kiwi parents also do.”