CYF caregivers accused of wire brush abuse 02/06/2011

Two Child Youth and Family caregivers and their daughter are facing almost 40 charges relating to the alleged abuse of boys in their care. It is alleged that Andrew John Hemara, 53 and Jenny-Lee Hemara scrubbed the bodies and teeth of their foster children with a wire brush, made them run around a racecourse till they became sick, chained them together and forced them to sleep outside without blankets, the New Zealand Herald reported. Along with their 21-year-old daughter Tamara Lee Hemara, they face a total of 38 charges. It is alleged the crimes were carried out over seven years on boys aged between 7 and 14.

…Family First national director Bob McCoskrie reiterated his calls for an independent complaints authority for Child Youth and Family. The mechanism would allow victims of abuse, as well as families which were being investigated by CYF, an independent avenue to voice their concerns. “This would give the opportunity for people who are concerned or even for young people themselves to have an independent place to have their concerns (heard). “It’s all about accountability and this is just another example.” While there would always be some caregivers who were in it for the money, the hearts of most were in the right place, he said. “I think most CYF caregivers have a heart of gold and are doing a great job.” CYF caregivers are subjected to annual reviews and are allocated a CYF support person.