CYFs more part of the problem than the solution
I have a tale of woe with regards to CYFs (yes I know, not another one)
I have been dealing with them for almost 2yrs now and every time they blunder into our path they leave us worse off.
My daughter has some complex emotional and mental issues as documented by mental health.
The process with CYFS has been a series of blunders and to be honest they have caused my daughter and I an incredible amount of stress and undue duress. This has lead to her feeling she is being judged by strangers who do not know or understand the situation and had an adverse effect on my health and business.
I have laid complaints with Cyfs, Anne Tolley and the Opposition Carmel Sepuloni. It took a month after some prompting to get a standard “we are looking into it response’ from Anne Tolley.
My daughter came to live with me 2.5yrs ago after a suicide attempt she was rejected by her mother as being “too hard”, her Mother, Grandfather and Uncle exhibit the same frequent and violent outbursts.
I have spent this time addressing my daughters issues, she has been seeing marinoto for therapy weekly as well. She can get very angry very fast and this can and has (many recorded events by police and hospital ED) escalated to violent behavior where property is damaged, I have been attacked and she will attack herself punching herself, slamming her head into the wall, cutting herself and taking pills.
My first sorry introduction to CYFs was an instant insight into the arrogant, poorly thought out extreme overreaction I have come to expect. I received a call out of the blue that my daughter was taken into care and I was to have no contact with either of my daughters because of a small bruise on her forehead. This was a result of her banging her head on her bedside table and I advised CYFs contact Marinoto to get clarification as it was discussed in therapy the day before. CYFs did not do this and insisted her mother will take custody. After many hours of trying to get her mother to take her (she refused) CYS finally released my daughter back to me (as it was approaching knock off time?). By this time my daughter had been locked in a small windowless room for 6hrs, essentially a cell and was very traumatised, she had also been told that her mother had refused to take her. BDP sufferers fear rejection and react strongly to it.
Some time later (greater than a year) CYFs arranged a family group conference, this was a farcical episode containing some very serious grade 5 breaches of confidentiality. When I received the report I was astounded, it was in no way relevant to the meeting that was held. When I questioned this I was fobbed off. By pushing further I discovered the report had been written several weeks before the meeting was held.
There have been many breaches of our privacy including
- CYFs representatives calling in without warning while I was out and informing my daughter there will be a FGC and mum will be made to go basically telling her Mum is not there to help but only because she has to be, she was saddened by this.
- The invitations to the FCG contained sensitive data and the delivery was an absolute farce.
- CYFs have my eldest daughters number and have spoken to her however her invite was mailed to a distant relative we have no contact with like someone had just gone through a list and found the first name match in NZ. When I raised this I was told this meeting is for all family members as if this was a good thing not a blatant breach of privacy. The woman who received it is a distant cousin by marriage only and we do not have any contact. This is a Level 5 Breach of confidentiality and was brushed off when I raised my concerns. I did not wish to raise it any further in the FCG as this was not the forum for it.
- An invitation was sent to a friend of mine at her work address, she is not family and just a friend, she has no relationship to my daughter and is a friend, one of a group of people I ride bikes with. This is a second Level 5 breach of confidentiality and was done even after I asked her to not receive an invite as she has no involvement. My daughters personal issues are now known by those who do not need to know.
- My Mother, did not receive an invite at all.
- My Daughter was only advised by the person who received her invite a few days before the meeting preventing her from applying for the time off and organising her working day that day. The recipient was confused as it seemed addressed to her but she had no idea who the child in question was until the possible connection clicked at a later stage.
- My invite was not on letterhead and did not look like a professional, official document. Had I not been aware of it previously I would have discarded it as a possible scam.
- During the meeting CYFs staff asked my daughters mother directly in front of her if she wanted to be involved and have a relationship with her daughter. Her negative response to this lead my daughter to tears, sobbing so uncontrollably that we had to break the meeting.
- The most memorable act of the meeting was a bizarre religious rant by the CYFs meeting coordinator that left everybody wondering what the heck was coming next.
- The report which followed was no representation at all of what little was covered in the meeting and was full of very incorrect assumptions. I pushed it through the complaints process (attached) to be told the results of the meeting report was written several weeks before the meeting was held. I was promised a retraction would be sent to all but to my knowledge that never occurred.
- I requested all the information help by CYFs on myself and my daughter, suspecting by previous experience it would be grossly incorrect.
- It took 6 weeks before they replied, 2 weeks later they advised my daughter must sign a release form as she was over 14.
- I was asked how I wished to receive it and selected DVD. I was told it would be couriered to me and must be home to sign it.
- Some time later I was advised I must come pick it up. What I received was a pile of papers. All the pages were out of order like they had been thrown into the air and casually picked up. There were multiple copies of most documents and I still have not been able to sort it into a fully comprehensible order.
- The inaccuracy of the information was astounding, conjecture and assumptions made on no information with no supporting facts, an accusation that my daughters mother was taking Meth while pregnant that I advised was completely incorrect and asked to be corrected many months before was still there, I was staggered and demoralized. It stated I was attending counselling for my violent behavior, Completely untrue – I am not a violent person and have never attended any meetings.
These acts have had a negative effect on my daughters progress, she became withdrawn somewhat and stopped coming forward as readily as she is aware that strangers know what she is going through and is unwilling to trust confidentiality.
I promised her that her confidentiality will be kept and this has not been the case.
All this has dramatically increased the stress on me as I try to guide her through her issues and has accumulated with me having a stress induced heart attack and being hospitalised.
I have worked with my daughter during therapy and have learnt myself how to deal with all but the most extreme outbursts which require me to physically detain her to prevent harm to her and property damage. With perseverance and patience as well as support from mental health these events over the last 2.5yrs have reduced in frequency from 4-5 times per week to once every couple months. I have always been honest with CYF, mental health and Police and have felt supported by Police (the police have actually been very good in this situation, they have been professional and I cannot speak highly enough of them) and at times by mental health.
I am now in the position where 3 weeks ago my daughter had a violent outburst, she was throwing objects at me, some large enough to damage me and the house, I ended up bruised and cut, the house has sustained further damage. I asked her to stop and try some of the methods taught her to control her but it was too late as this was met by obscene abuse and more objects being thrown and smashed. She smashed her head into the wall so I wrapped my arms around her to contain her whereupon she began punching, kicking and attempting to head butt me. It was at this stage that I was experiencing severe chest pain and knew the exertion could likely cause another attack. To prevent this I struck her with my right hand using and open hand and the fleshy part of my thumb. There was not a lot of force but I understand that this is now viewed as assault. I am not hiding from this and have been open however if I had not done it I fear what the alternative was. This resulted in the physical attack stopping immediately.
CYFs have swung into an extreme and over the top reaction with this. Ignoring all the history and documentation by Police, Mental Health and even their own they have reported me to the Police and apparently I am under investigation for a bruise on her right forehead (I advised that I struck her on the left as I am right handed). My daughter is staying with her mother, CYFs advise all is going well but this is not the case, they have only visited once for 20mins. My daughters mother is a documented trigger and sooner or later there will be an issue. I can already see signs of depression and anxiety in my daughters demeanor, she spends a lot of time alone and I am not allowed to see her, this has since been limited to visit of no longer than half hour. I struggle to see how 2 social workers with a proven history of failures and a negligent mother who deserted her daughter for nearly 3yrs and is a documented trigger of these behaviors can suddenly decide this without any consultation with me, mental health or the courts. I may be wrong but these bully tactics are very stressful. The situation is such a mess I am still trying to work out if there really is an investigation as I have had no documents or a visit by the police and calls so far to police have drawn a blank. I believe the social workers in question are abusing their perceived power and the fear of CYFs to a disastrous end. My daughter has rung me in tears having a severe panic attack frustrated that “No-one is listening to me and they are trying to put words in my mouth”.
I love my daughter and will always be there for her, doing what I must to ensure she has a wonderful life. She is generally an intelligent beautiful girl with potential. The erratic, biased and unprofessional behavior of CYF means I am exposed to persecution for this. The revamp of the department is a sad joke, all that money spent and we have a ridiculous name no-one can pronounce as the only change, there was no change whatsoever in the keystone cops like approach to the job they are tasked with.
I am now at the point of frustration where I am pursuing the option of legal proceedings, at the very least suing CYFs for the breaches of security which are extremely serious. This will bring the case to a head and hopefully show that this department is and always has been not a solution to the problem but a contributor to it not due to funding but sheer incompetence.
Does anyone have any experience in this?