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MIL OSI – Source: Ministry of Social Development – Press Release/Statement

Headline: State of Care Report

27 August 2015.

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s first monitoring report on Child, Youth and Family, The State of Care 2015, has been welcomed by the Ministry of Social Development. 

Child, Youth and Family Deputy Chief Executive, Bernadine Mackenzie, says the report’s findings and recommendations, along with a number of other reviews, will inform the work of the independent expert advisory panel appointed by the Minister. 

The expert panel, led by Paula Rebstock, will oversee the development and implementation of a new operating model to modernise CYF, enhance its governance and assurance, and will have a wide-ranging brief to consider all aspects of CYF operations. 

This is in the context of a changing landscape of child protection in New Zealand. The changes include new legislation, the introduction of Children’s Teams and the work of the Children’s Action Plan. 

“Many of the themes and issues raised in The State of Care 2015 report are the same as those we identified in the Chief Social Worker’s Workload and Casework Review last year,” says Ms Mackenzie. 

“We’ve already put strategies in place to ensure best practice; improving the quality of our decision making, reinvigorating family group conferences and intensifying our work with Maori. In addition, high caseloads are actively managed and processes have changed so social workers can focus on work that makes a difference. 

“As noted in The State of Care 2015, CYF’s staff are dedicated. One of the challenges we face is to embed great practice consistently across the organisation, from the smallest rural sites to the largest urban areas. We also need to ensure that children are always at the heart of everything we do.

“We know it works best when children have agencies working together to ensure they get the help they need to thrive. We’re working closely with our partners in Health, Education, the Police and NGOs, to find more effective ways of helping children deal with the issues they face.

“The Office of the Children’s Commissioner visited sites around the country and it’s valuable to have that feedback.  Each site visited has already seen its own site-specific report and has completed, or is working on, the recommendations made. The feedback will help us as we build quality social work practice. 

“The major changes on the way for Child, Youth and Family will lead to a significant transformation of the way we work to deliver better outcomes for New Zealand’s most vulnerable children,” says Ms Mackenzie.

NB:

MSD acknowledges that individual young people’s views on the physical environment of residences will differ.

The residences we operate are comparable in standard to those in other countries. We are monitored regularly and meet all requirements. While some residences are older buildings, all are warm and dry. All residence bedrooms are centrally heated.

Other than where young people are placed temporarily in Secure Care, young people are not locked into their bedrooms, and like most homes, share bathrooms outside their rooms. One residence does provide ensuites for operational reasons.

Planned maintenance, redecoration, reactive repairs and maintenance expenditure on these 9 residences is approximately $2.5m annually (in addition to $1.5m of capital expenditure).