INDEPENDENT NEWS

CYFS And Corrections Unite Against Child Abuse

Published: Thu 7 Dec 2000 11:26 AM
Child, Youth And Family And Corrections Unite Against Child Abuse
Child, Youth and Family and the Department of Corrections have signed an agreement aimed at further improving interagency co-operation especially in the reporting of child abuse and reducing re-offending.
The agreement outlines steps that must be followed by Corrections staff when they learn of or suspect child abuse or neglect.
The agreement also sets out procedures for Corrections and Child, Youth and Family to jointly manage the release from prison of offenders who have been convicted of sexual, violent or other serious offences against children and who seek family/whanau integration. This will enable the departments to work with families to ensure that adequate supports and monitoring systems are in place to help ensure children are kept safe.
Child, Youth and Family says it has been working with government agencies and professional organisations for a number of years on improving professional information sharing in relation to child abuse.
“We have had information sharing protocols in place for some time with a wide range of government departments and voluntary organisations, particularly in the health and education sectors,” says Chief Executive Jackie Brown.
The James Whakaruru report brought the importance of this work into the public spotlight.
“Since the release of the Whakaruru report we have signed protocols relating to the reporting of child abuse with the Department for Courts and now the Department of Corrections. Good progress is also being made in negotiations with the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners towards agreement on a referral process for GPs to report cases of suspected abuse to Child, Youth and Family.”
“We are sensing a real determination by all agencies and the community at large to ensure that no children fall through the cracks,” says Ms Brown.
Department of Corrections Chief Executive Mark Byers says Corrections is committed to reducing re-offending. This includes developing staff practices to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect and to promote a consistent and comprehensive approach to the protection and well being of children and young people.
“As a general overriding principle Corrections should immediately advise Child, Youth and Family or the police if we think a child or young person is in serious and imminent danger.”
The agreement between Child, Youth and Family and Corrections also focuses on permitted information sharing; children’s rights under the victims notification register; and case management relating to young offenders who are involved with both departments. It further states that the departments will co-operate at a policy, planning and operational level in such areas of mutual interest as family violence, youth offending, the prevention of child abuse, family reintegration and treatment of sexual abusers of children and young persons.
“Both departments acknowledge that the exchange of key information and better co-operation between them is in the best interests of children and young people. It will also assist the development of initiatives aimed at further reducing re-offending,” say Mr Byers and Ms Brown.
Media contacts:
Child, Youth and Family:
Stephen Ward, media advisor, 04-918-9124
Department of Corrections:
Mike Howson, communications advisor, 04-474-8843

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