Thursday, December 11, 2008

Too many cooks

The title of this post is too frivolous but sets the scene aptly.

This morning Minister for Social Development, Paula Bennett, told Breakfast TV host Paul Henry, that although she had called a halt to the Families Commission Summit, she had no intention of scrapping the Commission itself. Among other things she believed they had done a good job in the 'It's not OK' campaign. 'It's not OK' has almost become part of our vocabulary she said.

The 'It's not OK' campaign has apparently resulted in more reports to police of family violence. When the police respond to a report, if children are present in the home, they are bound to make a notification to CYF.

See below the effect this has had;

Now, the CYF Briefing to the Incoming Minister has this warning;

The volume of family violence notifications we receive from the Police is higher than ever. We received 33,569 in 2007/2008, compared to 26,348 in 2006/2007. This is an increase of just over 27 per cent. If this number continues to rise, it will have an impact on our ability to cope.
The growing number of family violence notifications provides further opportunities for a more effective community response. Most of these cases are best responded to by family violence workers, not Child, Youth and Family social workers.

Let's be clear about this. The campaign by one arm of government is causing a problem for the other.

In fact the campaign might feasibly be making life for children in genuine danger even riskier as those social workers with the power to remove them become less available. Theoretically one could even speculate that the FARs (Further Action Required) line in the graph above has dropped slightly as a direct result of the notifications increasing. Over-worked social workers will have reduced capacity to take further action.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is reasonable to assume that the huge rise in notifications is due to the pernicious anti-smacking law. We are headed down the same road as Sweden, which has many more children in the cruel hands of the state since smacking was outlawed.