Labour continues to shunt vulnerable foster kids

Published: Wed 9 Jan 2008 09:20 AM
Anne Tolley MP
National Party Associate Welfare (CYF) Spokeswoman
09 January 2008
Labour continues to shunt vulnerable foster kids
Labour is continuing to fail foster children, says National's Associate Welfare spokeswoman, Anne Tolley.
"I have been keeping a close eye on the issue of permanency for foster kids and the news isn't getting any better.
"Figures from the financial review of the Ministry of Social Development confirm my worst fears: permanency is not being monitored by Child, Youth and Family.
"CYF doesn't even define permanence let alone have any sensible performance measures that tell them how they are progressing in one of their most important goals for children.
"The statistics show that 986 children in CYF care - including 144 babies and toddlers under three years old - have been moved in and out of foster care at least three times over the past 10 months.
"In that period, a 12-year-old girl in Christchurch has had 10 different homes, a two-year-old in Nelson has been shunted between six homes, and a seven-year-old from Southland has had seven homes.
"This situation is very worrying. These vulnerable children have already had a difficult beginning to life - that is why they are in foster care. To shunt them from home to home can only make matters worse for them.
"CYF's Leading for Outcomes document states that: 'a sense of belonging comes with permanency - every young person should have that opportunity'.
"If that is the case, what is going on here?
"Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson has no explanation as to why foster children are not getting the security and consistency of care they need and deserve.
"She claims the situation isn't due to a lack of resources and that some of these movements are for respite care.
"So what is it Minister? It's time for proper answers. Our kids deserve better."

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