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Government considers CYF complaints process

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Government is considering options contained in an independent report to strengthen the Child, Youth and Family complaints process.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has asked officials to investigate a recommendation to expand the capability of the Children’s Commissioner to assume a greater independent monitoring role of CYF.

"I commissioned an independent report to investigate whether any changes to the complaints system are needed to ensure independence.

Former Police Commissioner Howard Broad authored the report which evaluated the current complaints process and identified potential options.

The Broad report offers three options for a robust complaints process; minor changes to the status quo, expanding the capability of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner or a stand-alone investigation authority.

"The Government will investigate the recommendation to expand the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and I’m seeking further advice on this."

"The most sensible, pragmatic approach is to strengthen the resources we have available outside Child, Youth and Family," says Mrs Bennett.

The White Paper for Vulnerable Children included an undertaking to investigate the necessity of an independent complaints authority for CYF.

The report illustrates in detail, what a difficult job CYF social workers do and acknowledges most do the job well and with a clear focus on children.

"What’s also clear is that sometimes social work practice could be better."

"Children need to be heard and acknowledged in this process and families should feel able to participate fully - we can do better in both respects."

Mrs Bennett says we need to acknowledge some are dissatisfied with the complaints process and we’re addressing that. This report is the first step.

Howard Broad is of the view that the Office of the Children’s Commissioner would be able to fulfil its monitoring role if greater resourcing was available.

"I believe we should investigate that option further," says Mrs Bennett.

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