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Graemea & CYF New Zealand

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

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Comments On Sample Report

Interview Scenario: Child with bruises Sample Report

I would use this method unless further training or the policy and procedures manual states otherwise. I would follow this process until I learn otherwise.

The laptop:

The reason I did not ask to use the laptop is simple. I was given a pen and paper and told it was a written exercise. I have been told in the past I need to use handwritten because it might not be suitable, possible or appropriate to use a laptop. I need to be able to do handwriting as it is less invasive. I assumed this applied in this case not realising it had not been noticed I brought it along in case.

I also need to clarify a comment about the mainstream program and me filling the gaps. Because of my involvement with the Unemployed Workers Rights Centre we deal with CYF clients who complain of not getting regular visits or Social Workers changing. As CY&F do contract out some of supervised access I suggested having me there as a good option for all to provide stability. I think I am a better option than the aforementioned problems.

Graeme wanted to make it clear that what his brother in-law says or does, even if he claims to be quoting Graeme, he wants no part of it. Graeme makes no excuses for his niece being in CYF care and simply says it's nothing to do with him. If people ask Graeme knowing he is a Social Worker he answers that it is ethically wrong for him to comment as it's a conflict of interests.

Graeme also asked why the EEO policy information feedback form in the job application asks questions about gender and ethicality but not disability.

That being the case how can you possibly measure it performance in this area especially as it was overlooked on Graeme's application. HR will answer that question.

After having received an email on 24 October questioning if I had put my disability on the application form I search my hard drive. I found two copies. While filling out and proof reading and making changes to the draft my computer crashed and it did an auto recover word TMP file. On my copy I clearly stated I have dyslexia and did a merge document. I can now see after checking my send items I did the merge the wrong way.

I have since gone thought my sent items and reread everything sent to CYF and in my old personal statement. A number of references are made to the difficulty in the literacy areas the main one being as quoted below.

It was suggested I attend a yearlong literacy course, which I did and was tested and found to have phonological and Graphical dyslexia. I wish we had of got to the root of these problems earlier in my life what a difference that would have made.

Page 1 of 3 from Personal Statement
Also on the CV it stated I attend a literacy course CPIT.

I certify that the information added from page 6 and through to page 8 as recorded in this document is a true and accurate record of events to the best of my abilities.

Signature: Graeme Axford
Dated :  /10/2006


The Scenario

I have a few things I would appreciate and hope you would give consideration to please.

First : the bruises.

I don't have a medical background. I would refer the child to someone who has, a nurse, or a doctor, or go to the hospital to identify the source of the bruises.

Once, asked the obvious like "how did you get them?", the child could say "I fell over" and the bruises could be consistent with that. But what if the child did fell over after being pushed?? Same bruises different incident. One accidental, the other possibly deliberate.

Our own Social Workers Code of Ethics, in my understanding clearly states “do not go outside of your skill range and never misrepresent your abilities or qualifications by doing something or giving advise you truly can not or should not give”,i.e "refer on".

If a child makes a statement about how the bruises happen only a medical opinion could confirm without witnesses or anything else would be assuming. I have no medical background and some children do lie for fear and other reasons when they were abused and will not admit it, or on the other hand to get someone in trouble when nothing happened. Eg split step dad and mother up … etc

Second :
when being trained as a Social worker we had it drummed into us that CYF's have a special investigating unit as all were to do was gather the facts and be careful not to lead or contaminate evidence and never conduct an investigation or ask leading questions as this could affect any outcome for a convection.

I did identify the bruising and did referrer it on to the experts doctors, school nurse and senior Social worker to review. Asking the school to monitor the child as they had the most contact with them in case things were proven to be none conclusive or otherwise. That took care of the safety of the child until things were investigated fully.

The point being if the Doctor, nurse identified the bruises from abuse or the child being neglected then we would follow up using the policy and procedures manuals to investigate an duly specialized/qualified staff.

So I an not aware of coming to a conclusion I did not rule out abuse or neglect neither did I say it was.

The key was ongoing monitoring and seeking advise and making sure the child knew who to talk to if it needed help eg, school teacher, nurse or social workers.

I would ask basic question like:

  • "how did you get the bruises?" - "did anyone else see the incident?"
  • "Who did you tell afterwards?" - "how long ago did it happen?"
  • "Were there any adults or anyone else round when it happened?"
  • "Where were your caregivers/parents?" - "Did they seem concerned?"
  • "what was their reaction?" - "Did they seek help for you and if so how and who was involved?"
  • "Do you bruise easily?" - "How many have you had lately?"
  • "Does any other child in the house have bruises?"
  • "Who looks after you most of the time?"
  • "How often are you out of their sight?" ex parent gone to the shop or child gone home from school with no parental supervision nor from anyone over the age of 14 years old etc

I would also check up on other siblings by asking the school or taking with them in general and if need be ask their friends. I would also check to see if there were any acholic or drug or mental health issues within the family.

Eg check with services, family doctor etc if needed. Only after having follow all the aforementioned could I be reasonably confident and coming to a conclusion. Even in my role as an advocate we do come across these issues.

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