The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has missed out on a much needed boost in this year’s Budget, meaning they will be forced to continue their reduced monitoring role of CYFs residences, says Labour’s spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern.
“The Children’s Commissioner has the job of monitoring our youth justice and residential facilities, a job that has suffered under increasing cost pressures.
“Last year the Commissioner took the unusual step of highlighting concerns at select committee that youth justice, and care and protection residences – that would usually be visited and monitored annually – were only being visited every 18 months, while remaining CYFs sites had even fewer visits.
“The Office has had previous bids to support their monitoring role rejected by Government, forcing them to stop publications, shut their Auckland office, and reduce the number of times the Young Person’s Advisory Group meets.
“Child, Youth and Family are facing similar pressures, despite a boost in funding.
“The Minister set aside $35.37 million in this year’s Budget for CYF to ‘address client demand pressures’, which is good news. But after the Expert Advisory Panel on CYFs noted in their interim report that the agency was forecasting a deficit of $28 million - $38 million in this financial year, the Minister had very little choice but to fill this gap.
“We know how important it is to make sure children are safe in care. To see another Budget where support for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner has been ignored is a major blow,” Jacinda Ardern says.