CYF dysfunction worsens
Child, Youth and Family (CYF) is so short of foster parents that children are being placed with caregivers before the new parents are properly trained.
A national recruitment campaign to find 300 caregivers has fallen short, with 120 signed up and a further 60 to be assessed.
Christchurch Family and Foster Care Association chairwoman Pamela Turner said being a foster parent was a “very challenging and stressful job which people needed to think carefully about before becoming involved”.
Turner said caregivers frequently faced allegations from children and young people in their care, which put a lot of stress on the family environment, in addition to dealing with children’s often difficult behaviour.
South Auckland Foster Care Association chairwoman Allysa Carberry said the area was extremely short of caregivers, forcing some foster parents to take on more children.
She also knew of caregivers, including foster parents and kinship caregivers, who looked after relatives’ children, who had not completed the CYF induction course before children were placed with them.
CYF training manuals describe the course as a “prerequisite” to placement of children.
Carberry, who has been a caregiver for 10 years, said not providing training was a “dangerous practice”.
Child, Youth and Family’s (CYF) 2000 social workers are to strike as abuse and neglect notifications reach a monthly record.
Nearly 5200 allegations of abuse and neglect were made to the child-protection agency last month.
A CYF spokeswoman said the department was investigating why the number of notifications to its call centres continued to break records. She said the trend was probably due to New Zealanders becoming less tolerant of abuse.
The number of phone calls to the agency rose from almost 28,000 in 2002 to over 51,000 for the year ending June 2005.
For the past four years, between 17 and 24 per cent of all allegations of abuse or neglect were substantiated. This amounted to almost 11,000 cases proven in the year ending June 2005.