Child protection service in crisis – Labour

3News 26 July 2012 
The coroner’s report on the deaths of the Kahui twins has revealed a child protection service in crisis, Labour says. Coroner Garry Evans has recommended installing child protection teams in hospitals and mandatory reporting by health professionals of suspected cases of child abuse. He also wants health and education authorities to have statutory responsibility for child protection. Labour’s social development spokeswoman, Jacinda Ardern, says the Department of Child, Youth and Family (CYF) doesn’t have nearly enough frontline staff to protect vulnerable children. She says that over the last four years notifications of child abuse and neglect reaching CYF increased by nearly 70 per cent to more than 60,000. “Despite that, just 50 extra social workers have been taken on over the same period,” she said. “Given 21 of those have been placed in hospitals, and rightly so, it still means there are not enough social workers to deal with the huge increase in demand for their services.” Ms Ardern says she’s been told new staff who should have spent time under supervision are being “thrown in at the deep end” and CYF is dealing with high staff turnover. “Social workers do an incredibly tough job and deal with issues every day that would shock many people – loading them up with more and more cases helps no one.” Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says there are going to be 96 more social workers, including the 50 who have been hired. “None of the (coroner’s) recommendations come as a surprise, as they have been raised in previous inquiries,” she said. “A response will be coming forthwith.”