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CYF Changes are Mainly Privatization

Filed under: Domestic Violence,Gender Politics,Sex Abuse / CYF — Ministry of Men's Affairs @ 8:32 am Fri 8th April 2016

While it may seem satisfying to see CYF clobbered for failing our children and families, there seems little in the proposed changes that will improve matters. The changes are in line with the National government’s privatization agenda that it has already applied significantly to prisons and schools and is seeping by stealth into health and most other government services.

CYF’s role could be improved by instructing and funding it to provide better support for the families and ‘placements’ it works with. Many more problem parents need effective help to conform with society’s expectations as parents rather than having their children ripped from them (although there will be some cases in which the abuse of depriving children of their biological parents will be less than the abuse of leaving them there). CYF needs to choose its interventions on the basis of good research evidence, not feminist ideology. CYF needs to apply strictly the law, not its own invented standards concerning parenting approaches. CYF social workers need to practise with more respect and common decency towards parents, and they need to be prevented from pursuing personal vendettas against parents whom they felt slighted by. CYF needs to adapt its interventions on the basis of the real outcomes for the children it serves. More broadly, government could usefully promote the importance and integrity of biological families rather than incentivizing sole parenthood and supporting organisations that encourage family separation and/or spread anti-family propaganda (such as Women’s Refuge and most other feminist groups).

But none of that will happen. Instead the Key government plans to contract out services thereby moving responsibility for outcomes a few steps further away. It believes that forcing foster families into a factory-type business model in which they are responsible for buying in what services they can afford will improve matters. Some extra money it promises to provide for this will almost all be taken from existing health and other budgets. See what they did? (Clue: the privatization model in which people pay for services that government has traditionally provided.) And of course, Minister Tolley envisages ‘philanthropists’ and charities providing much more of the support required.

More sinister, Tolley plans to move children into foster families more quickly under a belief that getting them into a ‘loving family’ as early as possible will benefit them. Hah, not based on what we know already about the fate of children ripped from their biological parents, even those with significant shortcomings in the eyes of the wise social workers.

Under the planned changes, CYF appears destined to become more fully a social police force, imposing its ideology on those unfortunate enough to be targeted then farming them out to the privatized services. It’s difficult to see anything in these changes that might improve outcomes for the lives of the children the state interferes with.


  1. I so much agree with the second paragraph of this article. Simply put the second paragraph states – no accountability = poor service. In my opinion until such time as social workers have to justify their existence we the tax payer will be wasting our money. So much of what some CYF workers do is based on rumour and gossip instead of evidence that they make horrendous errors which adversely affects so many people. There is a strong case for the supposition that the more social workers there are then the greater the trouble in society. In so many cases some help to the affected families would achieve more at a lesser cost.

    Comment by Andrew McCarthy — Fri 8th April 2016 @ 2:28 pm

  2. Observe what happened to Serco for failing to perform at Mt Eden prison. That’s accountability. If a private contractor has to meet some reasonable expectations, surely we could expect an improvement.

    Comment by John Brett — Sat 9th April 2016 @ 9:26 am

  3. The Serco events simply allowed government to palm off its responsibility for the welfare of people the state imprisons. The minister of corrections would previously have been held accountable but as it now stands nobody in government need sweat, just blame the contractor.

    Comment by Man X Norton — Sat 9th April 2016 @ 1:42 pm

  4. I agree no accountability and poor service. Cyfs social workers should take far more care when making decisions that effect peoples lives. They should adhere to their Service Commitment and know and understand Childrens Rights. They should be accountable immediately for their conduct and decisions. Cyfs drawn out complaint process leaves children at risk and families distraught.I have just experienced a Cyfs social worker disregarding a childs disclosure to a person they trust of abuse whilst in the mothers care,instead the social worker reprimanded the father of the child for taking the disclosure seriously and for involving the courts in day to day care matters. Her personal view! She then went as far as speaking to the mothers lawyer and recommending the child go back to the mother despite the father having been awarded and Interim Parenting Order. But not to worry, the Cyfs complaint system is so effective that in a few weeks they will let us know the result of our complaint. Never mind that the child might be at risk in the meantime. And will the social worker accept responsibilty…highly unlikely.CYFs needing an urgent overhaul is an understatement.

    Comment by NanSan — Sun 10th April 2016 @ 1:58 pm

  5. To get accountability to work constructively, you need to know what you want, be able to clearly define it and set a measurement scheme that genuinely does measure what you want, all of the things that you want and nothing that you don’t want (the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth).

    Although this sounds easy, in people type situations there are usually many, many goals. Additional goals often show up, later in the running of the contract. As time goes by, the contractor finds ways to game the system:

    eg put injured prisoners into a van and transfer to another prison before their injuries show up, thus you “aren’t” responsible or accountable

    The hospital with the perfect safety record, referring doctors noticed that that hospital refused to take on the more complex cases, or cases with older patients – they only wanted the easy ones! (USA)

    If you think defining required outputs for a prison is challenging, try it with CYFs!!!!!

    I cannot imagine that Skycity National Party are any more skilled at defining outputs for CYFs or prisons or schools, than Labour were. It is just that they are gung ho, well actually skilled at avoiding working accountability. I suppose that life is a gamble. But it is important to choose your gambles and I am now more scared of Skycity National Party, than I am of the other idiots. They throw the book at the supervisor of a logging gang, but not Pike River Coal’s Peter Whittle, or the Minister of Conservation after Cave Creek.

    So, we really do need a serious political party. So far the best seem to be the Magic Mushroom Party, but I still have some hopes for McCillicuddy Serious Party. I haven’t written the rest off totally, yet.

    These is more to Government than juggling statistics without mercy for the truth, if we want all NZers lives to get better. I don’t see Skycity National actually protecting or improving lives of children, except by offering thermal insulation for houses. A lot more is needed than just that. Politics does seem to go round in large, slow circles…..
    and repeat mistakes where we thought that the lesson had been learned….

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 10th April 2016 @ 3:24 pm

  6. User pays: – if the foster children cannot or will not pay for their abuse – then we won’t abuse them! I think the children are pretty innocent parties in all of this? Unreal hopes and expectations leads to more disasters. Redesigning CYFs needs to be done with reality in mind, not pious hopes for saving money. To do the job competently will cost more than we are presently spending, not less. We should be focussing on protecting successfully, much more than reducing costs. Hitler was into cost reduction, without ethical qualms. It didn’t build a better society, it destroyed the whole society almost completely.

    Sure, maybe a little wastage might be saved. That isn’t the point, it is the children we have a duty to save, before it is too late. Hand wringing and saying sorry is not acceptable, after children have been seriously harmed.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 10th April 2016 @ 3:31 pm

  7. Sinister – absolutely! Same wolf just different clothes. Tolley has “signaled” the end of CYF by intimating it’s time for a clean break with the past and CYF “is finished, is gone”. The only way that can happen is to remove the cancer ridden misandrist staff that infest the CYF organization. Until that happens; it’s just a cheap coat of paint over the same cracked walls.

    Comment by Bruce S — Sun 10th April 2016 @ 7:53 pm

  8. Discovered today that it is not mandatory for social workers, CYFs social workers included, to be registered with the Social Workers Registration Board! Yet another government failing and cover up? How can there be accountability if the so called experts dealing with our children don’t have a board to answer to?? Once again no checks and balances…

    Comment by NanSan — Mon 11th April 2016 @ 6:59 pm

  9. I have been critical of CYFs and its staff.

    However, I do know that it is easily possible to do a lot worse.

    I am scared that these proposed changes could easily slide in those directions. I find it hard to see that Skycity National Party could perform a competent and child protective job of contracting out such delicate work.

    More to the point, I would say – work out how large the task is and give CYFs enough funding to gain good staff and do the job successfully. Job insecurity doesn’t attract the best staff, especially if the wages are not attractive anyway.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Tue 12th April 2016 @ 11:53 am

  10. CYFs is a camping ground for a large number of incompetent women, ingested to promote an ideological position.

    It will not improve until it is dismantled and rebuilt.


    Comment by downunder — Tue 12th April 2016 @ 12:41 pm

  11. Word is, “CYF has been disbandered” and to hold back on protesting, advocacy and planning (ie: funding, workshops, etc) until ….. not sure what’s coming myself, but it’s always great to read what people share.

    I could write a fair bit on CYF cases, ie: pro+anti mothers & fathers, political research, changes to domestic violence etc, etc, but I won’t.

    I just hope what’s coming isn’t all about ideologies.


    Hey, I was in an article.

    Comment by julie — Sun 1st May 2016 @ 8:10 pm

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