Monday, January 5, 2009

CYF’s paintjob a whitewash or we don’t really care either way?

Cradle to early grave
More than 350 children and young people whose safety or welfare had been brought to Child, Youth and Family's attention have died since 2000.
Children's commissioner Cindy Kiro says many of the deaths were preventable. Some died from suicide, abuse, assaults by parents or caregivers, neglect and shootings. Most died from natural causes, medical complications or accidents, including vehicle crashes, fires, falls and drownings. Last year, Dr Kiro carried out a review of the deaths and she criticised CYF social workers for not focusing enough on at-risk children. The review found "gaps" in information provided to her office and triggered a new focus on neglect by parents and caregivers. Dr Kiro said she was frustrated by the significant number of preventable child deaths through violence, neglect, injury or suicide.

Remember when CYF’s used to be called CYP’s – they changed the name because so many children had died under CYP’s that it was felt a name change was necessary so that the reputation of dead babies didn’t become a complete PR disaster. Changing the name unfortunately hasn’t done jack shit because the reality is that we have a social infrastructure deeply damaged the last time National were in power and only slowly rebuilt by Labour in it’s 9 year term, with National back in power again and opting for tax cuts that favour the wealthy as opposed to extra money for CYF’s workers suggests the current work load won’t be going down anytime soon. The number of reported cases of potential child abuse jumped from 40,939 notifications in 2004 to 89,461 last year and talking with my friends who work in the sector, they each have many cases on all of their desks that demand immediate intervention but with such a lack of support services like where you send the kids and making sure those environments are safe (a lot of the time they are not) won’t go away right when there is extra demand for those services. The reality is that despite all the media heat child abuse creates we are utterly deaf to the call for extra resources to save these kids.

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