Child Youth and Family reforms "gambling with a generation"


Proposed reforms to Child Youth and Family are a dangerous experiment not backed up by sound modelling - and will put vulnerable people at even greater risk, the Public Service Association says.

MPs at the Social Services select committee have been hearing submissions on the Children, Young Persons and Their Families (Advocacy, Workforce and Age Settings) Amendment Bill.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay presented the union’s submission, which raised red flags around the haste with which the reforms have been drafted.

"We have always supported improvements to Child Youth and Family, and have consistently worked alongside the Ministry of Social Development to achieve these," Mr Barclay says.

"We welcome the Government’s commitment to improving outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.

"But we are deeply concerned by clauses in the Bill that would allow almost all social work functions to be delegated - possibly to NGOs or the private sector.

"In addition, we understand these radical proposals have been rushed through, without detailed analysis of the new system the legislation will create.

"This is irresponsible of Social Development Minister Anne Tolley, and suggests she is gambling with the futures of a generation - by using them as guinea-pigs in an untested system."

The PSA says under these reforms, core CYF functions like family investigation, removal of children and placing them in care could be performed by people who are not trained in social work.

"We told MPs the state has a crucial role to play in child care and protection, as well as youth justice - and these services should stay in the hands of trained workers employed by the state," Mr Barclay says.

"The young people of Aotearoa New Zealand are a precious taonga - and they deserve better than this."