The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.
“Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ‘State of Care Report’ as an opportunity to welcome the pending reforms of Child Youth and Family, but he has also raised a significant red flag that, ‘with such major change comes risk’.
“The Commissioner has called on those implementing the reforms to ensure there is a plan in place so that children in care right now are not ‘negatively impacted’ during this transition phase.
“A plan to prevent harm for the thousands of children already in care surely means robust oversight. But the Commissioner himself is not even properly supported to do that job, with a budget that has been frozen since 2010.
“At select committee this year, Dr Wills told Parliament he was no longer able to inspect care and protection facilities every 12 months, and had instead reduced visits down to every 18 months. He was very clear that this was a risk, and that he had informed the Minister. For this not to have been addressed in the Budget is appalling.
“We raised the issue with the Minister last week, only to have her simply shrug it off.
“I have no faith that we have the mechanisms in place to ensure that the children in care now do not suffer while we transition into the new reforms for CYF. That has to change,” says Jacinda Ardern.