CSWEANZ Media Release - Modernising Child, Youth and Family
Council for Social Work Education in Aotearoa NZ.
The announcement of a review of Child, Youth and Family is promising but the make-up of the Expert Panel is concerning, says David McNabb, President CSWEANZ. There is no representation from the social work profession or our child welfare sector. The lack of industry specialists would never happen if a major health service was being reviewed. It is not clear if panelist Duncan Dunlop from Scotland, working in advocacy for children in care, brings either social work practice experience or knowledge working inside statutory child welfare.
It is hoped that the Expert Panel will properly engage social work and child welfare specialists so they can be well informed to address the Scope item “The extent to which Child, Youth and Family’s current operating model is child-centric and focused on improving results for children and young people”.
Child, Youth and Family is a cornerstone agency in our national child welfare and social services context. There is a complex network of government and community agencies that support it in the important goal of both preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect. The well-being of children, youth and families is closely tied to economic and health status within NZ. Child poverty and ill health remain major factors in child protection that must be included in a strategy to promote child well-being. Maori, Pacific, migrant background and disabled children also feature disproportionately in child protection work and should be focused on in this Review. Understanding the wider context of social factors and the range of services available, and the interrelationship between both of these with CYF, is fundamental if improved results are to be gained for children and young people.
Social work educators are intimately involved with the child welfare sector, many having worked within Child, Youth and Family. Our students are educated in the fields of child welfare and family violence, with a number doing fieldwork within these areas. Many graduates go on to work within Child, Youth and Family and the wider child welfare and family violence sector. We are thus ideally placed to assist the Expert Panel address the Scope item “The professional knowledge, skills and expertise required by Child, Youth and Family to deliver improved results for children and young people they work with, and implications of this for providers of training, development and contracted services”. We are particularly keen to share with them the work already undertaken to establish the postgraduate education required after a generic Social Work degree, including staged workplace education and advanced qualifications common to professional specialisation, that can address this scope item.
If Minister Tolley is serious about improving the effectiveness of Child, Youth and Family so that long term child and family welfare is improved, then she will ensure that the Expert Panel goes beyond a plan to merely outsource work and create efficiencies.