31 October 2000
Social Services Spokesperson
4,000 CASE BACKLOG UNACCEPTABLE!
Christian Heritage Party Social Services spokesperson, Rosemarie Thomas, has responded to rising statistics of child
abuse by asking, “What is this nation’s vision for its children?”
“Over the past few years we have repeatedly heard about the rising number of child abuse cases. The Christian Heritage
Party understands the backlog alone has risen to 4,000. But nothing has been done, besides blaming the Child, Youth and
Family Service (CYFS).
“The government has to take some practical steps to help CYFS and the community to meet the needs of children who are
abused.” Rosemarie Thomas said.
“The Children’s Commissioner, Roger McClay, has made it clear that it is a problem, and although Stephen Coyle, a lawyer
and child advocate in Tauranga criticised CYFS for fudging the statistics, it is the Christian Heritage view that the
CYFS simply does not have the capacity to meet these demands.
“Bob Simcock’s debating over mandatory reporting will not effectively solve the problem of excessive case loads because
even when cases are reported, the CYFS does not have the resources in finance and staff to meet the case demands. The
managers and leaders of CYFS genuinely intend and want to make a difference in the lives of hurting children.
“However, although they are frantically finding new ‘strategies’ to meet the backlogs, policy analysts and the
Government have to realise that these are basic problems that need basic answers. We need to lessen the workloads of
existing social workers, improve communications technology and realise that the government needs to network together
with schools, families and the community to solve these complex social problems.
“We simply can not afford to be caught up in issues of fiscal constraint and efficiency when it comes to our future – we
have to pay the cost. As stated by Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, children must be a priority.
“The Christian Heritage Party says: ‘Get real Minister’, provide the finances and support CYFS – they need help. Also
support the voluntary sector with resources, as they carry the burden and help mainstream agencies meet social goals.”
Rosemarie Thomas concluded.
Contact: Rosemarie Thomas can be contacted on either (04) 939 8466 or (025) 846 627 or
Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766