Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga, is taking up the issues raised by Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft regarding Child, Youth and Family in Invercargill.
Judge Becroft has accused CYF of abdicating its 'care and protection' responsibilities for the youth of Invercargill, and instead referring social work cases on to the youth justice system.
“I agree with Judge Becroft. I have met with CYF management in Invercargill to raise these concerns myself.”
“All my electorate offices throughout Te Tai Tonga handle a lot of CYF cases, but Invercargill seems to have more than its fair share of whanau Maori who require extra assistance in this sector".
“It greatly distresses me that some of our whanau have come to expect uncaring, unsympathetic treatment by government service providers, and that is why Whanau Ora is so important. We want our whanau to be self-determining, to make decisions for their own wellbeing without interference from the state. Whanau Ora empowers families to do that.”
“However government service providers should also be required to be culturally competent when dealing with whanau. Whanau is at the core of who we are as Maori, and government service providers, especially those working with whanau, need to be responsive to their needs.”
"Ultimately our children are taonga to us, and we must do all that we can to ensure they are embraced, prtoected and treasured by our whanau, hapu and iwi. We expect that government departments will support that goal".
The Maori Party will establish a Ministry of Families which brings together functions from the Families Commission, the Children's Commission, Family and Community Services (MSD), Ministry of Youth Affairs, Child, Youth and Family and the Office for Senior Citizens. A key focus for the new Ministry will be the care and protection of children.