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CYF Complaints Authority Petition Explained

The Petition for an Independent Complaints Authority for Child Youth & Family, (CYF) New Zealand

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Petition Explained.

Please Note: The Petition is Closed
This page remains online for research and information purposes only.

Within this document the Petition text is set on a light grey background, the explanation of this then follows. Please note that the statements made in regard to each request of the petition are intended as a beginning point for Public discussion, and should not be seen or interpreted as set in stone.

  1. Establish an independent complaints system for Child, Youth and Family (CYF) separate from the Ministry of Social Development.
    1. This be done with full public consultation.
    2. This include Provincial Panels of community members and other specialists from a Social work background.

1. Establish an independent Complaints System.

The intent is to achieve an independent complaints authority that can openly or privately as matters dictate, investigate complaints in regard to the procedures, processes and actions or lack of action carried out by CYF and all staff either employed or contracted by CYF in its duties and care toward Children, Youth and Families.

This must not be seen as, or interpreted as a witch hunt, but rather a concerned attempt to get an independent complaints authority that can and will investigate all and any complaints in relation to CYF.

Some may argue that this can be done through the existing Chief Executive Advisory Panel, however there are certain aspects that the Panel cannot look into and while their recommendations are generally given serious consideration, the final Authority at present rests with the CEO of the Child, Youth and Family agency. This we suggest, experience has shown is not a workable nor acceptable practice for the fair, and just resolution of genuine and valid Complaints.

a. This request we believe is self explanatory.

b. Provincial Panels.

Local Panels operating at the Provincial Level would we believe offer the best solution to the matter of what area a panel should cover. It is our opinion that while it is important to have a system that is workable and independent this system must not over burden the state and consequently the taxpayers who will ultimately be responsible for the ongoing costs of the system.

A Provincial system also seems to us beneficial as each would then reflect a balanced cross section of the Community and specialists working in the field of Social Work, while not being ignorant of or divorced from the Local needs and other Local assets available. Such can only enhance the ability of any panel in hearing complaints, and any recommendations would then ensure the safety of children and their families.

In addition a Provinical Level system we believe would also afford the obvious ability of allowing Panels to combine within areas during high work loads. Thereby enhancing the ability of Panels to meet and hear complaints in a timely manner, and still afford the best possible just, fair and timely outcome.

Please Note: The Petition is Closed
This page remains online for research and information purposes only.

  1. Panels meet as required, to investigate any complaints about the practices, procedures, actions or conduct of all staff working/contracted to CYF.
    1. Investigations be carried out in a fair, just and timely manner.
    2. CYF staff are compelled to cooperate with the Panel under oath or declaration.
    3. Recommendations made by the Panels will be binding on CYF, but not remove other rights of redress available to the complainant.

2. Panels meet as required ...

Our first wording of this request possibly offers greater clarity to our intent. That the Panels are able to meet full-time, if needed,

It is we think obvious that if the allocation of Panel regions is along the Provincial Boundaries then some Panels will have a greater work load than overs. This issue will undoubtedly remain true no matter how we might eventually draw these boundaries.

It is important that such Panels do not become an un-necessary burden in costs or time. Therefore as required would seem to offer the best solution. Without restricting the ability of Panels to meet or combine and assist each other when necessary or needed.

The final part of our original text read, with wide-ranging powers, to investigate and deal with any complaints made in regard to the practices, procedures, actions or conduct of all staff working for or contracted by Child, Youth and Family (CYF). This we include here to ensure that readers and interested parties understand the intent.

requests a, b and c of this second item are we believe self explanatory.

Please Note: The Petition is Closed
This page remains online for research and information purposes only.

  1. Independent support people are offered who can attend all meetings if desired by clients.
    1. A free phone to register complaints is setup and that confirmation of these is given in writing.
    2. Given the anonymity to make complaints, look into a way of guarding families against malicious complaints.
    3. CYF staff make clients aware of the current standards of conduct, ethics and integrity, and these be publicly displayed in all CYF offices.

3. Independent support people are offered ...

The first wording of this request again offers greater clarity to the intent. That an approved list of independent support people, who may attend meetings and interviews if desired by clients, and if needed assist the complaints panel be made available to all clients at every CYF office.

It is clear from many complaints that a chief problem is the differences between the recollection of meetings between Clients and CYF staff. Having a list of independent support persons available to Clients at each office would clearly resolve these ongoing complaints and allegations of misrepresentation of proceedings.

a. A free phone to register complaints is setup ...

A free phone for Clients to register complaints in regard to the practices and procedures of CYF staff can only be beneficial to all persons and the agency. As this affords all Clients ease of access, while insisting upon confirmation of the complaint in writing gives Clients the knowledge that they have been heard and that the wheels are in motion to look into their grievance. This will also make the system more accessible if people are unable to articulate a complaint in writing.

b. ...look into a way of guarding families against malicious complaints.

Too often it seems malicious allegations are made against "good parents" by vindictive and malicous neighbours or family members. These malicious allegations often lead to the disruption of the family unit and for all intents and purposes psychological abuse of the Children and Parents through forced seperation, and the allegations falsely made.

While accepting that there is a need for anonymity of complainants, it is our opinion that there needs to be a manner of checks and balances that can and will reduce if not stop all malicious and knowingly false complaints. Exactly how we as a nation might go about this is probably going to be the hardest of all the issues to resolve.

c. ...make clients aware of the current standards of conduct. ...

Many times the statement has been made by CYF staff and others that staff are only following the accepted standards of conduct. Yet no one out side of CYF staff and then very few of those employees and contractors seem to know exactly what these standards are. This request resolves this detail once and for all, for both CYF Staff and Clients.


Please Note: The Petition is Closed
This page remains online for research and information purposes only.


We trust that Child, Youth and Family (CYF) New Zealand will welcome our suggestions as we see these helping the Department and Staff as well as the New Zealand public and where malicious allegations are made also protecting children, youth and their families from these.

We would like to see Child, Youth and Family (CYF) New Zealand clearly and openly held accountable for their actions or lack of them. That all staff be held accountable to the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) Codes of Conduct and State Services Commission (SSC) standards of integrity and public standards of morals, ethics, transparency and diligence.


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