Departure of Child, Youth and Family head raises concerns about agenda for at-risk children


The Public Service Association (PSA) is deeply concerned that the departure of Bernadine Mackenzie, head of Child, Youth and Family (CYF), fuels speculation that Paula Rebstock’s review panel is set to propose a radical overhaul of the system.

The PSA represents nearly 2500 workers at CYF locations across New Zealand.

Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary, said “Bernadine Mackenzie has been a trusted and respected advocate for children for many years now,”

“Such a significant change in CYF leadership, just a few weeks before the release of the Rebstock report, signals that it may contain worrying proposals for services to at-risk children that social workers will not stomach.

“Bernadine, like all CYF staff, worked exceptionally hard to ensure our most vulnerable children were given the best possible opportunity to thrive.

“CYF staff respect Bernadine’s ability to place children’s wellbeing at the heart of everything they do.

“The Rebstock report could contain proposals to outsource care for vulnerable children to agencies like Serco, putting those children at risk.

“We wish Bernadine all the best for her new role at the Ministry of Health, and our members will work hard to ensure the good work she undertook can continue,” said Richard Wagstaff.