Saturday, March 11, 2006

CYF is dysfunctional

I am really worried about the bind we find ourselves in. CYF is dysfunctional. A Cabinet paper released on Thursday describes how and,in some part, why. Of particular note is, "Many problems were created by those drawing up policy not understanding what happened on the front line".

CYF is dysfunctional, and always will be, because it reflects the dysfunctionality of the people it deals with. What the policy-makers and public don't understand is there are tragedies waiting to happen that no amount of intervention will stop. Then the social worker is blamed, almost to the point of having caused the problem. Of course social workers sometimes ignore process and rules. They use their own judgement and they have individual views about what action will deliver the best outcome. They don't have crystal balls.

But because they have the power to remove a child they are distrusted and consequently mislead by 'clients'. CYF case workers are not popular. Other organisations often get better results because they are trusted. The government knows this and want to capitalise on it. There is a move afoot to farm out cases to private organisations.

But what do you know? The last thing some of those private organisations want is state money. If they become agents of the state they end up with CYF-like problems. Other organisations see the development and want to get on that gravy train quick smart. Despite their good intentions they will become corrupted by the bottomless tax-payer pocket.

One way forward (an interim progression) is for government to pay a private agency, whose sole job is to get people off welfare. They only get paid on results. Similar schemes have worked in the US.

Let the private charities that can do the intimate social work successfully, stay free of government money and all the attendent bureaucratic obligations. Let CYF remain the strong arm of the law which gets the kids out when the private sector calls them in.

And, of course, stop encouraging the wrong people to breed. If society can't stomach getting rid of the DPB altogether make it strictly temporary.

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