Southland Times 24 March 2012
OPINION: Shirley and Ron Birt have fostered children in Southland since the 1960s. These are their concerns about children in CYF care. We are very long-term foster parents and are concerned for children in CYF care. It seems CYF often leaves children in dangerous circumstances and equally as often removes children who should never be removed from their natural families. They seem to have lost the ability to reach a sensible middle-of-the-road approach and the training to assess correctly the needs of these children. We have seen over many years the suffering of young people in care, the feelings of rejection and self-blame. Not all of them can be returned to family but the new Home for Life care policy that was implemented about two years ago is causing grief for children, their families and eventually the Home for Life carers, because of the inability of ever returning any of the children home.