NZ Herald Jun 27, 2011
A sharp jump in the number of day-old babies taken into state custody has sparked fresh calls for an independent watchdog authority for Child, Youth and Family. Figures released to the Herald revealed 42 babies were taken into CYF custody less than a day after their birth in the 2009/10 year – a total more than triple the year before. The spike has surprised the head of a national anti-violence network and prompted a new call by lobby groups for the Government to establish a CYF complaints authority. “When you’ve got CYF going into families like this and intervening in a sensitive area of families, there must be an independent point of appeal for families involved,” said Family First’s Bob McCrofskey. “CYF don’t always get it completely right and yet there’s no avenue of appeal. “We need to make sure families are getting fair grounds for disputing intervention where intervention isn’t warranted.” A Family First-commissioned poll in March found that 65 per cent of respondents supported the concept, which is also being backed by the Sensible Sentencing Trust lobby group. The figures showed the number of babies taken into CYF care had generally climbed over the past few years – 248 babies were taken into state custody in 2009/10, compared with 202 five years before.