COURT

Gaps in CYFS policy failing our most vulnerable

Sunday 24 June 2012, 11:13PM
By Green Party
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The Green Party is calling for the Minister of Social Development to front up and tell the public whether CYFS is undertaking mandatory checks of all family placements.

"This follows revelations that family placements of children and young people referred to CYFS from Youth Justice had not gone through mandatory checks," said Green co-leader Metiria Turei.

Metiria Turei appeared on Marae Investigates today to discuss the policy gaps that exist.

"A young woman who was referred to CYFS by Youth Justice was harmed in the care of a family member. The family member was a convicted sex offender. There had been no checks prior to placement.

"This is simply appalling.

"We have discovered that it has not been mandatory for CYFS staff to do criminal checks around family placement decisions made at Youth Justice Family Group Conferences.

"We do not know the extent of the damage that has occurred.

"Young people passing through the Youth Justice system are not officially considered to be in the custody of the Chief Executive. The result is that mandatory checks are not necessarily carried out.

"We want immediate reassurance from the Minister that all placements carried out by CYFS, including supervision orders set out by the Youth Court, undergo mandatory checks.

"The Principal Family Court Judge has suggested a separate part of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act relating specifically to child offenders. The Green Party supports this move."