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Thu 28th July 2005

CYF ‘ignored warnings about weird caregiver’

Filed under: Sex Abuse / CYF — JohnPotter @ 3:13 pm

The father of a girl videoed being sexually abused by her CYF-appointed caregiver says he pleaded with social workers not to place his daughters and son with the man because they would be in danger.

Police are investigating the man after they discovered thousands of child pornography images on his computer and videos in which he allegedly violated one of the girls.

Child, Youth and Family is also investigating the placement of the girls, aged 10 and 7, and a four-year-old boy, who were sent to the man in October.

Port Waikato MP Paul Hutchison, who was approached by the “desperately worried” parents in November, said he also wrote to CYF, but was ignored. “I’ve just found this one of the most appalling cases I’ve ever dealt with,” he said yesterday.

The alleged abuse was discovered in March when police investigated a sexual assault complaint made by a 19-year-old woman boarding at his home in a town near Auckland.

The allegations are detailed in a police letter to CYF, obtained by National welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins.

Ms Collins said the case was the latest in a long line of failures by CYF, and should be independently investigated. “This is just another complete cock up by CYF in a situation where children have been…put into a situation of extreme danger. And…CYF were warned about it.”

Don’t blame social workers until review completed – union

The Public Service Association (PSA) said it is too easy to blame social workers when families are in crisis.

National secretary Brenda Pilott said all PSA members were shocked by the allegations.

It was inappropriate for the union to comment on the case because it was being investigated by CYF and police, she said.

“High profile abuse cases often lead to a feeding frenzy of media and political attention.

“However politicians, the media and others currently commenting on it need to be open to the possibility that inadequate systems and processes are just as likely to be at fault as poor social work practice.”

Social workers dealt with New Zealand’s most dysfunctional families and damaged children and the review must go beyond simply looking for someone to blame, Ms Pilott said.

“The nation’s social workers do their best every day to turn around young lives destroyed by abuse and neglect.

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