VALUE YOUR VOTE 2017: Independent Complaints Authority for Oranga Tamariki (CYF)

Where do families turn when they believe CYF (renamed as Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Vulnerable Children) isn’t performing? It is difficult to understand why the government is so apprehensive about independent accountability for an organisation that can make decisions to uplift children and potentially destroy families without even having to produce concrete evidence of abuse. At other times, CYF has not acted when there was clear evidence that it should have. An independent complaints authority would be in the best interests of the 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. There is a Health and Disability Commissioner, a Police Complaints Authority, even a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal. We desperately need an independent oversight body to hear complaints about the highly sensitive nature of intervening in families. There must be a mechanism that ensures that families who have been notified to CYF as being at-risk are actually monitored in an appropriate way, but also to prevent abuse of families by the State.