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Thu 16th October 2014

Call to people caring for families involved with CYFS

Perhaps the main highlight of this website “MENZ’, for me, was the connection to men caring about families dealing with Child, Youth and Family Services aka CYFS.

That was back in 2006 when people were silenced because of the shame associated with CYFS intervention and I remember how I followed the link of one writer’s name to a website and how I signed up (joined), wrote a comment and received a phone call a day or two later from a northern regional manager saying, “I need to see you. Is today or tomorrow good for you?” and how I replied, “Cheeky, you haven’t even asked if I want to see you”.
The meeting went very well, by the way. He was lovely and very helpful. Not long after, 2 large boxes holding up to 5,000 pages of my family’s case were delivered to my door and the man who had to proof-read it (so I did not get information that harmed another’s privacy) told me he cried while reading it and at the end he was wrapped the family came back together.

You can imagine how impressed I was because of my experience.

“¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦

Anyways, things progressed and some pretty damn amazing things happened over the years. I could spend hours writing about the things that happened and the incredible people involved who volunteered 10’s of 1000’s of hours advocating for cases, protesting, writing petitions, communicating with politicians and so much more as well as spent a lot of money travelling, etc.

One of the sad things that has happened is ‘personalities clashed’ ideas clashed, agendas clashed, and more. It has damaged our work.

……

Heads up, that I am going to be contacting a few of the early pioneers and over the next few weeks to try and re-energise and motivate you to get refocused. All the effort you’ve put in over the years is being recognised right now and you have the ability, because you see things from a much bigger position, to help the overhaul going on in CYFS at the moment to make a true positive difference for the innocents involved.

NOTE: Of course I won’t be involving religious groups and wish them the best.

What I am particularly looking for is:

1. Somewhere where people can make complaints. (social workers, lawyers, families and community groups, etc)
2. Somewhere where cases can be accessed for study
3. Somewhere for people to put suggestions

These are to add to the already fabulous websites that care for individual cases, petitions and much, much more. I personally think we need a team to work together and that’s what I would like to put together.

If you’d like to help or already offer something that people can use or have suggestions, please leave a comment. Otherwise, get in touch with me at julie@singleparents.org.nz or wait for me to contact YOU.

24 Responses to “Call to people caring for families involved with CYFS”

  1. Anne says:

    CYFs as they are commonly known and certainly how I refer to them need an over haul big time. I am a grandmother caring for her grandson and have had good and bad experiences with the people who work for this organisation. Some believe in statistic’s as a true account. Point in note not reading my file or making assumptions based on stat’s rather than sitting down building a relationship with the client i.e. Getting to know them by visiting them in their own home myself in question. And lastly not having a full understanding on my grandson’s background and again making assumptions.

    When are these people going to do a proper job and treat the Caregiver with dignity and respect!

  2. Daniel says:

    I know a couple of social workers and their main complaints are the pay and crap conditions but apart from that the big problem is that different people and different organisations are all interacting with “clients”, nobody has an overall view and the organisations don’t talk to each other.
    One of my friends was astonished at the difference after coming from a European country where the job was valued and respected and a case worker knows all about their clients. On top of that there is also a big problem whereby someone who has got into a position of power in cyfs can control who gets to be a social worker depending on and anyone who rubs them the wrong way or has a different ideology won’t last long – apparently this happens a fair bit.
    My point? There are good social workers out there but the system needs an overhaul.

  3. julie says:

    Thank you Anne and Daniel for your comment. Comments are like “Hey, I care”.

    We are very fortunate to have passionate people involved and if you also want to get involved, just say so.

  4. John Brett says:

    Hey Julie- My experience with CYPS goes WAY back before 2006, more like 1990! I don’t believe there was EVER a time when fathers or mothers were silenced, or shamed by having to deal with CYPS. I took part in protests against CYPS in the 1990’s. My experience was with- the fight over my four children, and also the fight my eldest daughter had over her two babies. About the only thing that all members of the family could agree on was ON NO ACCOUNT ALLOW THE EVIL TROLLS OF CYPS to get involved, in any capacity whatever. As a father I found no common ground whatever with CYPS- they simply made themselves into another enemy of my family, to be overcome.

  5. julie says:

    John,

    Your comment is very telling of just how different pockets of society are, IMO.

    My experience with CYPS goes WAY back before 2006, more like 1990! I don’t believe there was EVER a time when fathers or mothers were silenced, or shamed by having to deal with CYPS.

    I didn’t mean to give the impression ‘everyone’ was silenced or shamed.

    I feel I had a very difficult time and I used to worry that the new friends I made in Auckland would feel betrayed because I didn’t share my experience with them.

    What silenced me was people’s attitude, “Where’s there’s smoke there’s fire”.

    …………… Anyhoo…

    I appreciate you telling me what the environment was like in 1990 for you, which is the year I arrived in NZ. I didn’t get involved with CYFS immediately.

    …….

    By the way, and a bit off topic, I’ve heard from mothers that they are silenced when dads get full custody of children in the FC. They say there is talk that, “You must be a bad mother for a dad to win”.

  6. Allan Harvey says:

    The grapevine suggests that any woman who is not the primary caregiver for her children must be a “bad”, or unsafe, or neglectful mother. I wonder if the public get that assumption from the fact the Court is a very slanted game for men? The Family Court gives shared care or the majority of care to fathers in less than 11% of cases.

    Very surprising that in the other 89% of FC cases the Court feels it is being even handed and fair. Many dads are not silenced until their money has run out, they are homeless, needing to share accomodation with flatmates (in a manner even they find unsuitable for overnight care of their children). They reflect that mum has unlimited legal aid funding to prolong the battle, that she has time to plan and attend meetings while he is out working overtime to meet his Child Support liabilities. One parent gets a small income for caring for the children (the care parent) while the other parent needs to work to support two households, pay taxes, legal bills etc.

  7. julie says:

    Allan, nice of you to share information about cases (I presume) you come across.

    I think if we all looked at our work, we’d see we are really niches. I have mothers getting fined $2,000 for dropping a child off late or not at all but that’s after a couple of warnings. These cases are not, “Mum’s a bitch” ….. they are simply people doing life raising often more than one child. I see mothers literally run as fast as they can carrying a heavy child from a sports game, etc, so they are not late dropping a child off. They are out of luck if traffic lets them down.

    But look, I am not interested in anything else other than the CYFS issue. I don’t think fathers need anymore but I respect people need somewhere to let off frustration.

  8. julie says:

    Allan, I don’t want to come across as putting anything you say down or even come across as questioning you. I know all you say is true.

    The way I see it, National decided to put forward 3 tracks and said they were working on fast tracking them.

    One for complaints once in shared parenting, one for domestic violence, one for parenting orders with people who need assistance.

    I have complaints about all three tracks, lol. But at the end of the day, it’s about people and there is a lot of professionals involved. Not one says, “We know what to do”, as far as I know.

    The best advice I have been told to give is, “Stay away. If you can get by without the system’s involvement, do it”.

    ……..

    A lot do stay away. Is it 90% of separations, still?

    …….

    I do think you do a fine job Allan and under crazy circumstances because people go MAD. It’s about people AND new partners, fear, resentments, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    I wonder if judges take drugs, lol.

  9. MurrayBacon says:

    Dear Julie, I would be very interested to see a few examples of familycaught$ giving “punishments” to women for delivering children late for access changeovers?

    I have seen quite a few examples, a dangerous number in fact, where familycaught$ has refused any compensation, for even part of the costs of wasted access, where the mother has completely withheld children from a pre-agreed access. In a few of the cases, significant airfares and accommodation costs were wasted, as part of the games to destruction. – but still no incentives toward respecting the other parent, let alone to not vandalise his wallet, let alone vandalism of the parenting relationship. Certainly my examples range in age up to 20 years, so are not current.

    If there has been a change to respecting both parents, I would like the opportunity to applaud it?

    I am scared that it might be like “1 lady has been prosecuted for perjury, on her 20th occasion (Kay Skelton)”, but of the thousands of women (and maybe nearly as many men?) who use perjury in familycaught$, a single prosecution only starkly draws attention to how the familycaught$ fails to address perjury, actually incentivises it and takes advantage of it.

    If the familycaught$ has started to put constructive incentives onto parents to properly respect each other (in accordance with legislation), even if only a little bit, I would like to applaud and respect this? MurrayBacon – still I suspect an axe murderer.

  10. Allan Harvey says:

    Unfortunately what you talk about above is pathways in Court system. I agree staying away from Court is the ideal.

    Focus on your children, accept that co-parenting is what is best for them, get on with it. That is the best first advice for those who can hear it and act on it.

    However these days you can’t even get to Court unless allegations of Domestic Violence are made. This also has become a filter for getting legal aid and using a lawyer to help. Surprise, surprise we are seeing more allegations.

    I have a shout out elsewhere here asking for input on the “default” first step being the new mediation services. One of the real problems with this is that what is agreed at mediation is not them turned in Court orders (unless you insist). That means when agreements break down it is back to mediation (another $900 cost) and the cycle cranks again.

    The self-interest in this perpetuation of mediation one could get cynical about but I am informed the Ministry of Justice has insisted to mediation providers that they should do everything to discourage meditations proceeding to Court for such ratification and possible later enforcement. To my mind that seems crazy to go 99% of the way and then at the last minute withdraw from getting an order that has some chance of being enforced if either party is later in breach of the agreement.

  11. Mits says:

    Has anyone else heard of mothers (and so presumably father as well) getting fined $2,000 for dropping off the kids late or not dropping them off at all?
    I’ve never heard of it and wasnt even aware that it can be enforced like this.
    Who does the fining, Femily caught or the criminal court?

    thanks for any updates

    Mits

  12. julie says:

    Murray, you can come along to single parent events, anytime. You are always welcome and always have been. I will make arrangement with you for a special meeting after camp. 🙂

  13. julie says:

    Hiya Mits, I am sorry to ask this again.

    Who are you working with? I talk of niches, and a overall is fine.

    Example, I work with dads who are starting the process and don’t see the cases once the orders have been sorted. OR I work long term (1 year or more) as a social worker for a men’s group.

  14. Mits says:

    Hiya Julie

    I dont work with anyone as such,
    I have been through the system, Femily caught, cyps, womans refuge, false allegations,stymied access to my kids, and all the drama
    I spent what was for me far too much money on lawyers for femily caught (although not a fraction on what some have paid)before I wised up and represented myself.

    I have given what information, even what could be called mentoring, and a sympathetic ear to other guys getting caught up in this system.

    Ive learnt so much from reading others posts on this site and passing it on. But no Im not an activist.
    I don’t feel bad about that as I know Ive helped some guys who were like me so naive to this system when they first seperated and thought everything would be legal just and fair.

    Im pretty much resigned to the fact that nothing much changes
    As an example Ive been paying child tax now for over 16 years and every year, every election, every time it is raised in mainstream media I hear that its going to change for the better, and 16 years later nothing has changed. Mums still moan they dont get enough Dads still moan theyre paying too much and the only ones getting shafted are the kids.

    I hope that helps you
    and back to my question I know personally of two guys new to the mangling machine who are going through the rigmarole of access being help up or withheld on a whim and wonder if you can give anymore information on these $2000 fines.
    My advice to the guys would be dont do it or the kids will suffer but maybe knowing its an option might goad the mums into playing it straight and level.
    Maybe it is a change after all, and Im wrong, things might be getting better. I know when my ex played the “bugger up his access game” there was no consequences or action taken and no one interested in taking any action, the threat of a 2K fine would have made her think though
    Who knows?
    Mits

  15. julie says:

    Thanks Mits for your comment.

    I know some of the good you do and think firsthand experience is a great position to be in for what you say is actual and not simply something worked out on paper or in your head, so to speak, or repeated. Another bonus is that you can really empathise.

    HERE IS WHAT I CAN TELL YOU.

    If someone is breaching the parenting order, you go the Family Court or look on its website and find the applications to enforce a parenting order, ‘on notice’ or ‘without notice’.

    I was told the forms (with or without notice) were general forms (G5 & G6) but when I looked online, I see they have made changes placing ‘Forms for care of child and guardianship’ in a different place and have given them new numbers. Now the forms are:
    MOJ0527 – Application to enforce a Parenting order or Guardian order,
    MOJ0528 – Affidavit in support of application to enforce a Parenting or Guardianship order,
    MOJ0581 – Information sheet Care of Children.

    Note: A person needs to add the law they are applying under in their affidavit (Care of Children Act 2004).

    Once the forms have been filled in (mits and other men here can help), you get the Family Court registrar or another approved person to witness your signature, then hand in the application (3 parts) and pay the fee.

    HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

    It costs $220 to file THE APPLICATION though you may be eligible to have the fee waived under ‘Civil waiver off fee‘ OR get funding OR legal aid. (Link has a calculator that gives you an idea if you qualify).

  16. julie says:

    … while I am at iT….:) Here’s some more information.

    STEPS TO TAKE WHEN SEPARATING

    Presently, the MoJ (Ministry of Justice) and FC (Family Court) are encouraging people to apply for a consent order instead of a parenting order. They say the consent order is more of a negotiation agreement than the parenting order agreement (don’t ask me to prove this, lol) while perhaps it’s simply about favouring change.

    There is a fair bit of information about the separation process on the new pages of the Ministry of Justice’s website.

    The cost varies between providers (ie: mediation lawyers, churches, nationality groups (Maori, Pacific Island, etc)) and some have government funding while you can apply for a ‘Civil waiver off fee’ if you are not well off.

    FINDING A PROVIDER aka MEDIATOR

    To find a provider, visit the Family Justice Services website. Under the drop down menu and the words, ‘Who can help’ in the bar at the bottom of the header, you will find ‘Find a service provider‘. On this page you have boxes to help – Put the first one to ‘Mediation FDR’ and the second to your area. Voila, you have a list of providers.

    HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

    Family Dispute Resolution, family legal advice and preparatory counselling (which your Family Dispute Resolution mediator may refer you to before any mediation sessions) are free of charge if you qualify for full government funding.

    To find out whether you qualify, go to the funding calculator, or call 0800 2 AGREE (0800 224 733). If you think you may qualify, make sure that the Family Dispute Resolution mediator you contact is government funded – just ask them when you call. Family Dispute Resolution providers listed in those who can help are fully funded if they have the “F” symbol next to their name.

    you don’t qualify for full funding, you can still access Family Dispute Resolution mediation services at a set price of $897 (including GST) from a government provider. These providers are marked with an “S” beside their name. Providers with an “F” symbol next to their name may also provide Family Dispute Resolution mediation services at a set price of $897 (including GST) to so ask when you call them.

    Providers who are not government funded, can set their own prices.

  17. Mits says:

    Hi Julie

    Thanks for that . Good Stuff

    But from looking at the website you put up for the femily caught all I can find for not following a parenting order is that they can,

    “¢ Have the respondent pay a bond to the court
    “¢ admonish the respondent
    “¢ Issue a warrant to enforce day to day care or contact
    “¢ Have the respondent reimburse the costs that were incurred as a result of them disobeying the existing parenting order
    “¢ Discharge the parenting order
    “¢ vary the parenting order.

    None of this is what I would call a fine

    So Im still interested in your comment
    I have mothers getting fined $2,000 for dropping a child off late or not at all but that’s after a couple of warnings

    Who does the fining is it the femily caught or criminal court?
    excuse my ignorance but I would really like to know

    Mits

  18. julie says:

    Hi Mits, may I ask you to clarify, “What you want to achieve?”

    I am busy, busy, busy over the next week and I won’t be able to do much online.

  19. Mits says:

    Hi Julie

    Don’t worry about it.
    I was just interested in the comment that you made that you had mothers getting fined $2000 for dropping a child off late or not at all.
    What I wanted to achieve was being able to pass on to guys in this situation that there is an avenue for them to explore with an ex who is mucking up their access where the “stick” of a large fine might produce the “carrot” of working together to make access happen.
    But if its femily caught then the cost and delays would probably make it not worth the bother.

    I don’t know how to clarify “who fined them” any further.

    Lets just drop it.

    If any fathers out there can let me know if their ex has ever been fined for mucking about with access and what amount they were fined that would be great

    Thanks anyway
    Mits

  20. Allan Harvey says:

    I have seen situations where the court have asked for a bond to be paid where a child is going overseas (and the bond covers some costs if not returned).
    In my experience no fine has been imposed. All I have experienced of the whole penalty regime for breach of parenting orders is wet bus ticket reprimands.

  21. Man X Norton says:

    Mits: Don’t expect Julie to back up most of her claims. She doesn’t, and the claims tend not to be worth the time it takes to read them.

  22. MurrayBacon says:

    Further to Allan’s comment #20, on occasion bonds as high as $10 or $20,000 have been asked of mothers and up to $50,000 of fathers.

    Read Taken In Contempt, to get a more realistic idea of what amount of recovery money is needed, to have even a 10% chance of restoration to a legal situation.

    But, those figures are not the largest problem….

    It seems more common to ask fathers to put up a cash bond, to be held by the familycaught$ registrar and to be immediately available to a mother, if any deviation should occur.

    More commonly, mother’s bonds are accepted as a lien over a house, such that several further legal steps are required, before 1 cent is made available to the father (with him footing all costs up to that point). Factor in the degree to which any father can take process according to law and equity for granted, all of this legal manipulation isn’t worth a tin of steaming shit (let alone as much as a wet bus ticket).

    But wait, there is more to come!

    As 85% of abductors are mothers and under 15% of abductors are fathers, then shouldn’t – in common sense and equity – shouldn’t it all be the other way around?

    Oh, and I forgot to add in that most father’s abductions are short lived affairs…

    Get real familycaught$. You are sacrificing children’s development and welfare, to actually serve the mothers (usually).

    The familycaught$ only hurts people who take it seriously. (Women just as much as men, alas.)

    MurrayBacon – axe murderer.

  23. julie says:

    Rolls eyes,……

    Lookie here, I like you men and at times I respect you. But I don’t have time to educate you or challenge your hearts that are as black sometimes as the women you hate that hate men.

    The courts are not what you think. Judges are not the pure people you think nor are they free from peer pressure. There is a lot more worse going on than fines and I would say the same to the women you consider your enemy if I was talking about men.

    I don’t expect you to understand me and I lay down that I am really busy so I don’t have time to care about every word I say.

    This post is simply a heads up that I am coming after a few men and I want them to know why I am coming after them.

    Your niche is not my niche and I wish us both success and hope we can respect one another when we do the right thing that’s outside our egoes, etc.

    There’s much for you to get on with as there’s much for me to get on with. Let’s just leave it there. (I intend to)

  24. julie says:

    By the way, when I say “At times I respect you”, it simply means at times we connect as all community groups advocating for niches do.

    As people, I very rarely fall out with father’s advocates and at most times it’s more about our clients and how we think society works.

    I have come to realise it’s the niches that are the only thing that make us different. In fact, your enemies are not working with your niche as much as you don’t work with theirs.

    I think common sense is the only way forward and understanding that if something doesn’t work for you, it most likely doesn’t work for other niches.

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