INDEPENDENT NEWS

Minister must explain another CYF tragedy

Published: Thu 27 Nov 2003 12:03 AM
Minister must explain another CYF tragedy
National Party Welfare spokeswoman Katherine Rich is stunned by the details that have emerged about the death of 3-year-old Tamati Pokaia at the hands of his CYF foster parent.
"CYF has launched another in-house investigation, but Tamati's family should be getting answers and an apology sooner rather than later.
"Unfortunately Tamati's story of four foster homes in less than two years is not an isolated case.
"In response to my written questions at the end of July the Minister admitted that there were 77 children under 3 years old who'd had three or more foster placements in the past year," Mrs Rich says. "When CYF makes the ultimate decision to remove children from their biological parents, they should be making damn sure they're going to a better home.
"Just this year there've been stories about young girls escaping from foster homes to prostitute themselves on the streets of Christchurch and in Dunedin foster children have been caught taking the dangerous drug daytura.
"If children are coming from dysfunctional families continuity of care is critical, especially in the development of babies and toddlers, but sadly too many of our most vulnerable children aren't getting that continuity.
"CYF Minister Ruth Dyson has consistently refused to accept any responsibility for her Department's failings, but the Tamati family clearly deserves better," says Mrs Rich.

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