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Archived documents of Graeme Axford and his dispute with Child Youth & Family, (CYF) New Zealand

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Family First NZ Media Release
Tuesday 12th March 2009 www.familyfirst.org.nz

News Archives

July 2009

July 1st 2009

May 2009

These updates can be found in the UnEqual Opportunity Section of this website and comprise the last three updates to this issue of Equal Opportunity during the employment process and how the potential for discrimination can be removed in the first instance.

April 2009

EEO issues, clarity & solution.

March 2009

Potentially Discriminatory
CYF Complaints Authority Fails

February 2009

Heading North
International Attention Growing

Added 17th March

CYF Complaints Authority Fails Miserably

Family First NZ says that figures obtained from the Ministry of Social Development under the Official Information Act show that the CYF Complaints Authority is failing its job, that the Ministry has done virtually nothing to make people aware of its existence, and that CYF remains unaccountable.

According to the previous Minister for Social Development and Employment Ruth Dyson in response to our request for information last year, a pitiful $14,000 had been spent on brochures and some posters for distribution around CYF offices to advertise the Complaints Authority, and no additional training has been given to frontline staff in terms of referring clients to the Authority.

And the Ministry of Social Development has informed Family First this week that only three written complaints have been made since the Authority was established in July 2008.

Family First is being regularly contacted by families who claim to have been unfairly treated by CYF social workers - yet they have no independent body to appeal to, says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. Their only option is a costly court process where CYFS have an unlimited pool of resources to defend its actions, courtesy of the taxpayer. This is grossly unfair when families are being ripped apart, often just based on the subjective judgment of a social worker. The recent response to the /CYFSWatch/ website shows just how deep-seated the concern is.

An independent CYF Complaints Authority is in the best interests of the social workers, says Mr McCoskrie, 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 workers.

There is a Health and Disability Commissioner, a Police Complaints Authority, even a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal. We desperately need an independent body to hear complaints about the highly sensitive nature of intervening in families.

The Advisory Panel being adopted by the Ministry of Social Development has the inherent flaw of not being independent, and the Chief Executive still has the final decision as to the success of the complaint. This is unacceptable.

Family First NZ calls on all MP's, the majority who will have received anecdotal evidence of claims of unfair treatment by CYFS, to support the urgent establishment of an independent CYF Complaint Authority.

ENDS

 

Letter to the Editor Greymouth Evening Star

I was rather surprised by the media release dated 12 March 2009 from Family First NZ, National Director, Bob McCoskrie, saying only three complaints had been put in writing for the new Child Youth and Family (CYF) Complaints Authority.

I am aware of at least 10 complaints, all around New Zealand by different individual families, so clearly something is going on or wrong within CYF for them not to be aware of this.

I agree with the call for an Independent CYF Complaint Authority which I hope the New Chief Executive's Advisory Panel would join rather than have to go through Peter Hughes the CEO. It seems, there is a dead zone in-between the local offices and middle management, long before it hits the CE Advisory Panel. Should complaints even get that far, which would be a minor miracle?

I am not surprised other groups are approached with CYF complaints as its just about impossible, I have been told, to get higher up the chain if you are unsatisfied. Things seem to get buried or lost in CYF own system which I am sure works for them better, than the complainants.

Given CYF got around 400plus complaints in one year from those they did record, after Ruth Dyson admitted CYF had no central database or real way of capturing all complaints,. It would be nice to think CYF improved so much that the number of complaints dropped to 3 but that could be wishful thinking, but let's keep hoping.

Graeme Axford

 

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