Child, Youth and Family needs to explain why it is investigating 12 per cent less child abuse cases when notifications haven’t fallen, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“In the last year, 150,905 child welfare concerns were reported.
“The Salvation Army’s annual state of the nation report Moving Targets found that in 2015 CYFs undertook further investigation into 30 per cent of the notifications they received, compared to 42 per cent in 2012/13.
“CYF have explained away these differences by claiming they are ‘providing better screening at intake’. But how many children are simply being filtered out by the agency to match their limited resources?
“The report also raises questions over whether the Government is understating our already appalling child abuse rates by highlighting the ongoing and significant difference between substantiated reports of abuse and the number recorded by Police.
“For the year to June 2015, Child, Youth and Family reported 3,235 cases of physical abuse, while the police reported 4,698 cases over the same period.
“This is another example of where the Government’s Better Public Service Targets may be distorting the way that we are dealing with critical cases of abuse and neglect. The only way to satisfy concerns that this isn’t happening, would be for the Auditor General to look at the way CYFs deals with notifications.
“Behind each phone call is a child that a member of the public is concerned about – we need reassurance we are taking care with every single one of those reports,” Jacinda Ardern says.