2005/06 Estimates Vote Child, Youth and Family Services -Report of the Social Services Committee

Section 59 of Crimes Act 1961
Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 refers to the use of force towards a child by way of
correction. Regardless of any criminal action, the department takes independent action if it
believes a child is in need of care or protective services. Thus, the section does not prevent
the department intervening directly with a family if this is deemed appropriate.
The department is moving this year to provide a specific service for children witnessing
family violence.

Also from the Transcription at the bottom:
Scott: Can I have a sup on that. I just want to ask what the department’s opinion
is on section 59.
Dyson: The department doesn’t have a view on section 59.
Scott: What I want to know really is does that defence cause difficulties for the
department? Do people use that defence? Do they know it’s there even, or
does it not register?
Tyler Our work is quite different and we take a look independent of any other
statutes, whether or not according to the definitions in our Act the child is
in need of care or protective services. Regardless of any criminal action, we
will take action independent under our statute. So that can never be used as
a defence.
Dyson So the recent case would not stop Child, Youth and Family intervening
directly with that family, if Child, Youth and Family determined, under our
criteria, that it was appropriate. It is irrelevant what the correct decision is in
terms of intervention.
Scott So it’s totally separate what happens with the police as to what happens
with Child, Youth and Family?
Dyson Yes.

Again just snippets from this for the full transcript go to:


2005/06 Estimates Vote Child, Youth and Family Services
Report of the Social Services Committee

Appropriations sought for Vote Child, Youth and Family Services in 2005/06 total
$457.331 million, an increase of $24.619 (5.69 percent) million compared with 2004/05
estimated actuals.
Total departmental output expense appropriations are $386.250 million, and nondepartmental
output expense appropriations $70.716 million. Capital injections of $12.375
million will be provided.

Whole-of-government approach
The department seeks to engage with organisations in the government sector to help young
people and children, and we were informed that it has the confidence and capability to do
so. This broad approach is important because various factors affect family security,
including the security of home tenure, family income, and school attendance.
Non-governmental organisations
Such organisations take on cases requiring family support rather than investigation, and can refer them back to the
department if an investigation is required. The organisations will report back on their work
and a steering committee has been established. It is hoped that earlier engagement with
families will prevent issues that might lead to abuse or neglect.
Over 53,000 notifications of possible abuse or neglect were received over the 12 months to
May 2005, significantly more than in the previous 12 months. These notifications involved
about 30,000 individual children. Of the notifications, 11,488 were substantiated.
The department advised us that notifications have increased for various reasons. There is
more awareness and less tolerance of child abuse or neglect. Organisations are more
proactive in responding to suspected child abuse, and likely to engage the department
earlier. The department also believes that it is becoming more responsive, and understands
better the subtleties of child abuse and neglect.
We will continue to monitor this trend.
The department is assessing its response to notifications, and assured us that sustainable
high-quality services will be delivered despite the increased demand. Many calls to the
department seek advice or help in locating services, and the department is working with the
Ministry of Social Development to set up a help line to address such needs.

Forty three percent of clients are Maori, 31 percent are New Zealand Pakeha, and 6.25
percent are Pacific Islander.
Children in care
More than 4,000 children are in care. About 50 percent of them are in family placements,
many of which are long-term. We expressed concern that the department may override the
opinions of parents whose children have behavioural difficulties. We were told that if a
parent is concerned that a social worker is overriding their decisions they should talk to the
supervisor or a manager. After an investigation a social worker decides whether a child
needs care and protection, and this is discussed at a family group conference. If there is no
agreement, the decision is made by the judiciary. The importance of the proper process
being followed and the balanced consideration of different perspectives was acknowledged.
Contact with children
We noted the importance of the department maintaining contact with children who have
been brought to its attention. We were advised that if a social worker visits a child and he
or she is not home, this fact is recorded and the home is revisited. Finding a child can be
difficult, and may require the department to work with schools, the Ministry of Social
Development, the public health sector, and the police. This difficulty reinforces the
importance of investigating quickly.
We expressed concern at the death of a young person at the Kingslea Residential Centre,
and another under a non-governmental organisation’s care. We were told that the
department works with the Children’s Commissioner over response strategies, which are
then communicated to the front-line and agencies involved. The death of the young person
in the non-governmental organisation’s care will be subject to a coroner’s hearing. The
department will talk to the commissioner after the coroner’s hearing, and examine the
coroner’s recommendations. We were assured that the case was thoroughly investigated.
Investigation of deaths
We note that if a child dies in a hospital there may be a full investigation involving all those
who had contact with the child, and an examination of the child’s treatment to improve
practice. However, when a child dies in the community there is no such review unless the
coroner or the police decide to take action.
We were told by the department that after a child’s death a report is written for the
commissioner, who decides whether a full review is called for. Sometimes both the
commissioner and department undertake reviews. The deaths of children known to the
department are often due to natural causes, and are noted in hospital reviews. The
department sometimes has in its care children whose health is fragile. It has been
examining thematic reviews of the cases of children who die, so as to learn from these and
to provide this information to front-line staff. We believe that the case for full investigation of
child deaths has merit.
The complaints process
We noted the process for complaining to the department has caused confusion. We were
told that a clear and robust complaints process is being installed.
Section 59 of Crimes Act 1961
Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 refers to the use of force towards a child by way of
correction. Regardless of any criminal action, the department takes independent action if it
believes a child is in need of care or protective services. Thus, the section does not prevent
the department intervening directly with a family if this is deemed appropriate.
The department is moving this year to provide a specific service for children witnessing
family violence.
Social workers
The department has 2,362 full-time equivalent staff, 17 percent of whom identify
themselves as Maori.
The department employs 1,150 social workers. The number of social work staff has
increased in the last two years. In 2003 the benchmark for social work staff was 982; it is
now 1,122.
There are some staff shortages. Auckland is the most difficult area for which to recruit
front-line social workers, and some graduates are reluctant to move there. The recruitment
of New Zealand social workers by other countries is a problem.

Risk-estimation system
The risk-estimation system helps social workers assess the level of risk of children. The
system is used in nearly all appropriate cases, and the department is pleased with this

Approach to this examination
We met on 16 June and 14 July 2005 to consider Vote Child, Youth and Family Services.
Our examination took one hour and 36 minutes. Evidence was heard from the Associate
Minister for Social Development and Employment (Child, Youth and Family) and the
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services and advice received from the Office of
the Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Library.
Committee members
Georgina Beyer (Chairperson)
Dr Muriel Newman (Deputy Chairperson)
Paul Adams
Sue Bradford
Judith Collins
Hon Taito Phillip Field
Bill Gudgeon
Moana Mackey
Dr Lynda Scott
Hon Judith Tizard
Evidence and advice received
In addition to the standard Estimates documents, we considered the following evidence
and advice during this examination:
In addition to the standard Estimates documents, we considered the following evidence
and advice during this examination:
· 2005/06 Estimates: Vote Child, Youth and Family Services – transcript of the
hearing of evidence
· Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, Developing the Differential Response
Model, 20 May 2005
· Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, The Year Ahead (2005/06) –
Making a Difference for Children, Young People and Families, 2005
· Finance and Expenditure Committee, 2005/06 Estimates Examination, Vote: Child,
Youth and Family Services, May 2005
· Hon Ruth Dyson, Child, Youth and Family: A Year of Progress – Working for the
Safety and Well-Being of Our Children, 2005
· Office of the Auditor-General, 2005/06 Estimates Examination Briefing to the Social
Services Committee, Vote: Child, Youth and Family Services, 16 June 2005
· Parliamentary Library, Estimates 2005/06: Vote Child, Youth and Family – Issues Paper,
30 May 2005

Then there is the transcript that makes for interesting reading:

Corrected transcript
Estimates: Vote Child, Youth and Family Services
Social Services Committee
23 June 2005
Georgina Beyer (Chairperson)
Dr Muriel Newman (Deputy Chairperson)
Paul Adams
Sue Bradford
Judith Collins
Hon Taito Phillip Field
Bill Gudgeon
Dr Lynda Scott
Hon Judith Tizard
Graham Hill, Clerk of the Committee
Paul Bellamy, Research Analyst, Parliamentary Library
Paul Mahoney, Research Analyst, Parliamentary Library
Mere Te Huki, Parliamentary Officer (Committee Support)
Hon Ruth Dyson, Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment (CYF)
Paula Tyler, Chief Executive
Dr Marie Connolly, Chief Social Worker
Debbie Gee, Communications Manager
Lorraine Williams, General Manager, Operations
Shannon Pakura, General Manager, Service Development
Bernadine MacKenzie, General Manager, Quality Assurance
Craig Smith, Acting General Manager, Strategy and Planning
Jo Mika-Thomas, General Manager, People and Capability
Viv Rogers, General Manager, Organisational Services
Lynda Angus, Regional Manager, Wellington/Central Regions
Stewart Bartlett, Lawyer

Again only notes here:

Dyson: So we are now moving into a phase of what I describe as performance
excellence, and that is not a term that I would use lightly.

The department will maintain delivery of
sustainable quality services, despite that growing demand.

But I also have to say that praise of the organisation should be given as well.
They have a very, very hard job and they are doing it increasingly well, and I
am very proud to be their Minister.

Tyler: Interestingly, I guess even though we do have increasing calls, we don’t
actually see an increase in our substantiated cases that is above and beyond,
I guess, normal population growth. Certainly, our vision means that all New Zealanders do care about
their children and do work together to prevent child abuse, neglect, and

The first is that we know that increased media concern about child abuse
does result in more calls to our call centre… We do know that, as our society becomes
concerned about family violence, the police, in fact, are responsible for a
huge increase in our notifications.
We also are actually becoming more responsive and this is due to more
understanding in our system and in systems internationally about the
subtleties of child abuse and neglect. Again, moving from that, bumps and
bruises are sort of a very visible sign of abuse to some of the more subtle
effects of neglect and emotional abuse over time.

In terms of performance, we have been really proud of the performance
over the past year on all of these areas. I will talk to each one of them
separately. In terms of productivity, we have actually immeasurably
increased our productivity by 43.6 percent. I felt a little bit odd about using
these sorts of figures and talking about productivity, but what it really
means is that the effort that we spent has been more directed and
streamlined, and that has allowed almost 13,000 more investigations to
occur now in this period than we would have been able to do at 2003
productivity rates. So that is really significant. What it means is that kids are
being seen in a more timely manner and determinations of whether children
have been abused or neglected are being made much more quickly, so that
issues can be resolved.

So what
we have done is clarify and streamline our investigative processes. That has
meant that social workers have more time to undertake restorative work for
children and families; they are not spending all their time investigating; they
are spending more time moving children and families to well being.

For New Zealand to be one of the jurisdictions that is managing to
continue to attract increasing numbers of qualified staff is really very
significant. So we are quite proud of this.

. We are listening to vulnerable children and
young people and we are going to increase participation of young people
through the revitalisation of family group conferences.

We are going to bring our understanding and experience of vulnerable
young people and children to policy tables across the sectors of
Government where the services that are provided there make a huge
difference to the success for our children. We are going to work very
closely, and more closely, with NGOs and communities across the country
to make sure that we are serving children in the right way and to involve
them in terms of service provision.
Our strategic objectives reflect that, in addition to focusing on service and a
positive future, which means that children do not linger in our care, but
rather go into long-term sustainable family situations. We are going to
continue to focus on building our understanding of the needs of children
and how best to do that, and making better and better decisions about our
allocation of resources, time, effort, and money.

Even though we have over
4,000 children in care though, I would just want to point out that probably
close to half of those children are in family placements and many of those
placements are, indeed, long-term placements for children. So sometimes
the figures don’t necessarily reflect the reality for children. Our policies are
being finalised and implemented this year.

We are going to provide more real
practical support to social workers on the front line as well. We are moving
into the second phase of our youth justice capability review and will be
implementing some significant changes this year as well.

And, of course, measuring on outcomes, outputs, and effectiveness
performance and intake and intervention. In conclusion, one of the things we are going to be doing much in
the next year, and we have already begun to increase, is our active
involvement with other Government agencies on policy and programme
development levels in terms of more integrated service delivery for children
and young people with NGOs and other community organisations, and a
broad-based community approach as well. Thank you.

Collins: Minister, you have discussed, and seem to be very pleased with the better
information systems that the department is bringing in, so we can find a
good outcome for kids, so it is finding out as well why we have more
notifications. Does that now mean that we are going to be able to find out
just what the make-up of the homes where some of these children coming
into CYFs care actually comprises, like they have for other countries, such
as other children in the home with very young parents, having a home that
is dependent on welfare, and a home with no dad, or no mum, or whatever.
Are we going to be able to do that, because we have not until now?

Tyler: Certainly, we will be able to do that. The issue for us is a bit of a translation
issue, because our system is not a bad system, but it is a case-management
system. So the information that is stored is relative to the situation for each
particular child. It does not lend itself to us, for instance, asking right across
the system what is the particular status of the child, what have we done, etc.
etc. So it is very good, if I am a social worker and looking at a child’s file,
what has ha ppened and needs to happen. The system has not been as good
as a management information system. So now we are going to be making
modifications to that system, and adding to it, so that we can ask those
questions and get those answers.

Smith: Perhaps the most profound use we have made of Dr Fergusson’s study would be in a suicide strategy. As a reslut of using that study, and the Otago Medical School study, we have created a youth suicide programme that is world-leading. We have halved the level of youth suicide in the Child, Youth and Family population in the last 3 years and international jurisdictions are lloking really closely at it. What we want to do from here is to use the approach that we have teken in the youth suicide strategy and apply it to our wider research programmes. So we are probably one of the better users of the Fergusson study.

Dyson: But it is clear that there has been an increased societal
intolerance for child abuse. That is a really good thing. We should have zero
tolerance for child abuse and neglect. It reflects on the demands to the
Certainly, society has changed in its attitude towards child abuse and
neglect. A number of organisations have become much more proactive in
their response to suspected child abuse, or even dysfunctional families in,
schools, police, other social services agencies that are now more likely to
engage Child, Youth and Family at an earlier stage. So that’s raised
awareness and intolerance.

Collins: But the increase every year does tend to indicate that there must be
something increasing it. It is not just people’s awareness. It has to be-
Dyson: That is why I think it would be useful for us to talk more about the nature
of the cause.
Pakura: What I can tell you is that we have had 53,000 notifications to date, and
only 11,488 have substantiated child abuse and neglect findings.
Collins: Actually, 11,000 is disgraceful.
Pakura: I agree, but in terms of the number of notifications we have there are
significant other notifications that reflect behavioural problems, custody
issues advice. So 11,400 are child abuse and neglect.

Adams: How many, if any, of your social workers have had a CYFs involvement
with their own families?
Pakura We’ll have to come back on that. I don’t have that with me.

Newman: And can you just tell us what the caseloads are like?
Pakura: The average caseload of a social worker at a national level is between 23 and

Newman Does that mean you have problems in some provinces and cities? Where do
you have staff shortages?
Mike-Thomas The most difficulty in recruiting into the front line social work line is in
Auckland. It is where we have the most positions that we need to fill.
Newman Can you give us a reason?
Mika-Thomas I have had some discussions with the schools of social work recently in
terms of their graduates and where they are going. One of the comments
they make is that who wants to go and live in Auckland, if they are not from
Auckland. It is a very fine city and I used to live there myself. For some
people who have not lived in Auckland, moving to Auckland, it is a big city,
it is expensive, and all of those kinds of things.

Bradford: There has been a case
in Wellington recently where a little baby was killed. In tracing the
experience of what had happened with that kid there had been CYFs
involvement. What got me about what came out in the paper was that CYFs
had visited the home a number of times and had just said: “No one home.”
I am just wondering what the best practice is, and what you are doing about
that, about visiting homes and there is no one there. Obviously, that case is
on somebody’s books. Somebody is very worried, to some extent, about
what is happening in that home. But they go there and there is no one at
home, so they go away, and another month later they go back. That is what
it looked like from what was in the paper..
Pakura We do go back.
Bradford: How soon do you go back when that happens?
Pakura: The social worker will diary it and the social worker will go back. The other
things that we do is we do searches. Sometimes we will talk to MSD to see
whether they are transient and we also talk to the police to see whether
there is a connection. We try to track and in some cases it is really, really
Bradford: But you are really trying. That 23 to 25 cases, someone in those sort of
situations, as you get better, they will be trying to track those babies and
Pakura: And contact the school, the public health nurse, Plunket, and all of those
Bradford: So you are really trying?
Pakura: And quite often we get calls from other agencies saying that they have come
into contact with the family there, and so we’ll send our people out.
Bradford: So the transience that is behind those children’s lives is a huge part of the
Tyler: It is one of the reasons as well that shortening our investigation times is so
important. Then we don’t lose track of children.
Bradford: What worried me about it was it looked like a month between each visit. I
thought, goodness, what’s happening in that month that they have not gone
Pakura: Sometimes it won’t be a visit, it will be a phone call, they’ll try and track
around. So they will use a number of mediums to try to track the family.
Newman: Do you normally do a full investigation whenever a child who is associated
with the department dies?
Pakura: What we do is we make an assessment. Every time a notification comes in it
is categorised and we make a judgment about what kind of response-
Newman: After a child has died?
Pakura: After a child has died we talk to the Children’s Commissioner and we make
a judgment on whether a review is required. We do a report to the
Children’s Commissioner.

Tizard: I have been talking with the people in the child mortality study in Auckland
and their concern on that matter was that where a child dies in hospital
there is a full investigation absolutely regardless, where everyone who has
come into contact with the child is talked to, every treatment, or action of
staff, or anyone in the hospital is examined on a no-faults basis in an
attempt to improve the practice.
Their point is when a child dies in the community, unless the coroner
chooses to take action, or the police, there’s never that sort of review. I
wonder if it might not be useful for us to think about that difference and try
to satisfy all of our concerns; that that should perhaps be an ordinary
requirement for every child who dies.
Dyson: Maybe if you want to go through the basis on which the Children’s
Commission determines whether there should be an inquiry-
Pakura: We do a report to the commissioner within 5 days. The commissioner looks
at that, the chief social worker goes back and has a discussion. The
commissioner will ask for further information, she will require further
reports. The commissioner will then decide whether she wants us to do a
full review. Sometimes Child, Youth and Family does a review and so does
the Children’s Commissioner.
Tizard: I am sure that that happened. My point is that what Starship Hospital in
Auckland was saying was that they were finding better practice coming out
of talking to everybody involved for every child. They are sure that they
have saved lives and prevented injury through that process, not by saying
that somebody at the top hasn’t dealt with the child saying well, perhaps,
this is an inevitable and regretful occasion. It is what they do with every
child and they believe that has improved their practice.
Tyler: I have just a comment and that is that children who die who are known to
us often die of natural causes and are picked up in hospital reviews and we
have some very significantly medically fragile children as well sometimes. So
the levels of review are a little bit different as they relate to practice.
Tizard: But the hospital’s point-I’m sorry to go on-is that, yes, children do die of
natural causes. But even when that has happened, there have been
occasions where they have picked up-
Dyson: So the investigation has a chance to look at best practice.
Tizard: That they can do better.
Tyler Perhaps Marie could comment, because she has been involved in these.
Connolly: Since I have been in the department we have actually been looking at issues
relating to children who die who we have some connections with. What I
think we are finding is how important it is to learn from the experiences
absolutely. We have been looking at thematic reviews of children who die,
so that we can start picking up across those different cases the learnings
from them so that we can then feed that back into the front line and
practice notes and we can start having the dialogue around what risks there
are for children.
So, as Paula said, there are a range of children for whom we have some
connection who die. Some are non-accidental injury, some are illness. Each
will give us different sets of learning experiences that we want to capture
and look at.
Bradford: It is very impressive to hear of the progress that’s been made, but there’s
one area that at least from my knowledge it still seems there are huge
problems, and that is in relation to youth justice facilities in the number of
children and young people who are having to stay in police cells. The courts
are still bringing that out, and this is despite the efforts that the
Government has made to improve and extend facilities.
I guess I really have a fundamental question, even when all the beds that are
being built come on line and are fully staffed, with wonderful staff, and all
the rest of it, which we hope will happen, or is happening, will there be
enough beds then? I mean it feels that there may not be, just as our prison
system is having the same problem.
Dyson: You remember at the select committee last year I think we talked about the
residential services strategy, where, clearly building more beds is part of the
strategy, but it can’t be the only ones. We have looked at things like
supported bail, police practice, judicial practice. Lorraine might want to give
you a bit of an update on the sort of range of things.
Dyson: The youth court judge has been raising the question. I think it is valid to
raise an issue of beds, bed numbers, and Rolleston is opening soon. That
will put another 12 beds to be available, but that is not the only solution.
You just cannot keep building more beds. You have to look at the whole
picture and the range of things that are available.
Williams: Just a bit of a brief summary. We have 90 justice beds on tap now and
another 12 coming on in October. We do need, as the Minister said, to
identify other ways that we can actually help with these young people. It
appears to be that the more beds we put up the more demand there is for
Bradford: But are those other ways happening?
Williams: Yes, they are. We have working groups looking at them at the moment.
Bradford: They are not actually implemented yet.
Pakura: We have the supported bail programme. That has come in since January
2005 and that is looking at supporting 300 children who come on-stream.
That is a direct programme to minimise the use of residential beds and
police cells. So that is the programme we are focusing on now.
Bradford So that is booked in?
Pakura It started in January.
Dyson: What is that 300 figure. Is that 300 at once, or 300 over a year, or-
Pakura: When the programme is fully implemented, which will be at the end of
2007, we will be able to service 300 young people. So we are piloting it at
the moment. So the supported bail is a direct effort to manage the beds and
keep children out of police cells.
Dyson: It’s not very many at the moment, but actually we are not talking about very
many young people across the whole country, anyway. So you only have to
take a few out of those police cells, or youth justice residence facility. They
are supported appropriately, they are safe, the community is safe, so it’s a
really valid option. You don’t have to take very many out to fill up those
Bradford: And supported bail would tend to leave them at home, whatever their home
Pakura: At home with their caregiver with some support around them, yes.
Collins: In the youth justice area and the work that so many social workers have
with family group conferences, there’s been, over the years, constant
complaints about social workers not having the work up to date, not having
reports due in time for family group conferences, or nothing actually
happening after the family group conferences. What have you done to deal
with that issue, and has there been any marked improvement?
Pakura: Eighty-five percent of young people who get referred to family group
conferences, 64 percent only have one, so that is significant, and 85 have
two. The referrals to FGC are from the Police. So it is police that are meant
to bring the information to the family group conference. There was an issue
about the capacity of the organisation to respond to plans. We’re working
with community agencies and families to see how we can be supported, and
the young person can be supported, to deliver on those plans.
Collins: So you’re looking at it, but has there been an improvement yet?
Pakura: Yes, there has.
Scott: I have two sups now, because one was on family group conferences. It was
the question I was going to ask. We were talking about health before. In the
health area now you have very good complaints assessment processes. In
my electorate office I have had a lot of people come to me over the last 6
years with complaints about CYFs. One of those main complaints has been
when they have a complaint they just don’t know where to go. Normally,
you would make them go through the process first, unlike the health system
where it is very clear where to go. And the other complaint is about after
the family group conferences CYFs not following through on their part of
the bargain. They do not know who to turn to in a complaints assessment,
not to be vindictive, but to say “I’ve got a problem here.” So they come to
me, which seems inappropriate, and I intervene to find out where they
should go and how they should solve this. I wonder whether that has been
Tyler: Actually, we are in the process of putting in place a robust complaints
process. It was one of the things that I identified as well when I came in as
needing to be done. Ultimately, the chief executive is responsible, but that’s
not the best way to solve problems-to go directly to the chief executive.
So we will have in this fiscal year a very clear complaints process that
advances in a very logical way, so that if people do not get satisfaction we
can move it up the ladder. But it encourages the organisation to solve the
issue closest to the child.
Scott: So will each MP’s office get told about that?
Dyson: We will make sure that yours is one of the first. The other thing I am
looking at is part of the complaints procedure. I think it is very important
that people understand what they should expect. Here is what you should
get out of this process. A lot of people have unrealistic expectations of
things. If we say: “This is what you should get. This is how long it should
take. If you don’t get X, Y and Z, here’s the process to follow.” So that will
be on both sides. It is not just an opportunity to complain. It is also a much
clearer understanding of what people should be getting out of the process.
So that is important for the person going into it. I think a lot of people go
into FGCs not really understanding what the outcome should be.
Scott: Yes, but a lot of the complaints have been: “Look I wrote down what the
plan was, and this hasn’t been done; that hasn’t been done.”
Dyson: I wasn’t saying that the criticism wasn’t valid. I am just saying that that is an
important part of the complaints procedure. They should know what to
Scott: The other thing was back to the original question, which was about youth
justice. How much is alcohol and drug abuse a problem with these children
who you are dealing with. Now that we have shut down the Hamner beds,
do we have beds to deal with alcohol and drug issues, because it is a big
problem with the suicides as well?
Pakura: Drug and alcohol is not the most significant issue in youth justice.
Education outcomes is.
Scott: Sorry, what is?
Pakura: A significant number of youth offending takes place between 9 and 3.
Scott: So they’re not at school.
Pakura:: And second on the list is drug and alcohol. We are working with health to
help us with programmes for young people.
Scott: What I asked was, do you have enough beds to deal with children with
significant drug and alcohol problems, because we shut some of them
Pakura: In terms of do we have enough beds for these young people-
Scott: To deal with their serious addiction.
Pakura: I think what we try to do is keep these young people in the community with
their families and their carers and try to bring the programmes to them.
Scott: Is that working?
Pakura: For the most part, yes, it is.
Bradford: Just the last part, it’s only partly about youth justice, but there has been two
cases-the one at Kingslea where a young person committed suicide in
Kingslea, and the other case I was particularly worried about was the case
up north where I live where a young person died while in an NGO
provider’s care-supposedly in their care-and their disappearance was not
reported for a long time. It seemed that the whole thing was really tragic. I
just wondered in both those cases what steps the department’s taking to
resolve the problems that have been shown by both those things.
Connolly: In both of those situations, and in others, we look to consult with the
Office of the Commissioner for Children and to work out strategies from
there in terms of how we respond, rather than addressing the particular
cases that you are speaking about. What we do from there is consult the
Children’s Commission, decide what the best approach is, if there are
practices used that emerged during that, we seek advice from the Children’s
Commissioner on how we might do that. Then we would communicate that
to the front line or to the agencies that are involved.
Bradford: But surely, with a community-based NGO-type providers you would take
quite urgent action to try to ensure what I would call a higher quality
Pakura: Yes, absolutely.
Tyler: We don’t wait in those situations.
Dyson: That particular provider in this instance isn’t a provider currently.

Newman: With regard to that case where a young boy went missing and was drowned,
was anybody held accountable or responsible from the department? I
understand the mother had not given him permission to go, so clearly,
something odd happened.
Connolly: I am not sure that I can really answer that question for you.
Newman: Can you tell me why you can’t answer the question?
Pakura: Stu, can you answer that?
Bartlett: The matter regarding the young man in Northland is going to be subject to
a coroner’s hearing. That hearing is likely to take place no earlier than
November this year. We obviously do not want to and cannot talk about
the detail of the matter before it goes through the coroner’s court. But what
I can say, without going into any detail, is that on first brush it does not
look like consent involving the department is an issue in this case, so to that
extent it does not seem necessary that we should be looking at any kind of
accountability issues in respect of the department.
But we necessarily need to wait to see what the coroner has to say about the
issue, because it is a complex issue in relation to that case. We would
certainly be wishing to talk to the Children’s Commissioner after the
coroner’s hearing, have a look at what the coroner’s recommendations are
in that case, and go forward from there.
Newman: Presumably, you do some preliminary work anyway, to figure out-
Dyson: There’s been a lot of investigation, not just into that case, but into all similar
cases, and fortunately there are very few of them. You can have an absolute
assurance from me that that was investigated very thoroughly, including the
issue that you raised.
Beyer: Lynda, have you got any more?
Scot:t Two of them have been answered, but it does go on from this about NGO
providers. One of the changes that are being implemented is to look at
those sort of cross-sectoral initiatives and the use of NGOs in different
ways. I think the comment was made a lot of them are coming to the table
to want to deal with them. Can you tell me how that’s going, what NGOs,
what are your lines of accountability, how you are going to follow that up?
Pakura: Over the last 18 months we have enjoyed a really good relationship with our
NGOs. We have talked with them about the capability and capacity. They
have talked with us about what parts of the work that we do that they could
undertake. In terms of differential response, we have had a magnificent
response from the NGO sector. They are meeting with us in July to provide
some feedback on the work that they have been doing. Recently, we put
together a steering committee that involves three significant NGOs that are
going to be part of an ongoing process about how we continue with this
work and-
Scott:Can you tell me who they are?
Pakura: Russell Martin from Open Homes, there is a representative from Waipareira
Trust, and Barnardos.
Dyson: What about talking about the piloting of the differential response, because I
don’t think the committee has had that information.
Pakura: Towards the end of last year we piloted differential response-43 providers.
They have engaged with us at a local level. They have accompanied us out
to families, picked up the work which requires family support, rather than
investigation. So the ongoing work has been picked up by those agencies
and it has made a huge difference to support of families, really. They have
engaged with the NGOs positively.
Scott: So does funding flow?
Pakura: Yes.
Scott: From that, once they are approved, funding goes to you from your
department to them?
Pakura: The NGOs can also refer back to us if they have through the engagement
they find that there is a requirement for an investigation, they absolutely
have the ability to refer back to us to conduct a forensic investigation.
Dyson: This is hopefully, and I doubt whether it would be in the short term,
avoiding the need for investigation in future so that we can get in and have
engagement with the family at a much earlier level to stop the sort of issues
that might lead to abuse or neglect.
Scott: Like the Taming Toddlers programme on telly, have you seen that?
Dyson: No, I haven’t seen that.
Scott: It’s really good. It’s just behavioural management, that’s all.
Gudgeon: With the increasing staffing especially in Maori and Pacific Island areas, it
indicates that not all is well in these communities. What are the things that
are really happening that people require your assistance? It was mentioned
by an MP from the Government that there has been an increase in Maori
qualifying and Pacific Island people qualifying in the social area. What are
the other things that are happening out there that people require your
Dyson: I am not sure if the two are related and the point that Jo was making earlier
was that of our existing social work staff, there has been a higher percentage
of qualified staff from our Pacific existing staff and our Maori existing staff.
So that was the point that Jo was making. Of our total staff who are moving
into registration, a higher number of Maori and Pacific staff are becoming
registered. So it is a separate issue from what are the causes of phone calls
to our call centres.
Gudgeon: Is that telling us that with Maori and Pacific Island increasing in qualified
staff that more and more Maori and Pacific Island people are coming to the
Dyso:n It’s showing that they are quicker off the block and getting professionalised
within Child, Youth and Family.
Gudgeon: And what is happening in the Maori and Pacific Island communities? I
suppose naturally they will go to these people for counselling?
Pakura: Not necessarily. What some of our Maori families would do is go to an iwi
social service or a Pacific Island social service to look for support. Quite
often the families that come to our attention, a significant number of them

require support, rather than intervention. Some of that is to do with the
isolation of those families. They are away from their family supports, so
they require a further support.
Gudgeon: Are there any other cases-supplementary to the question-that the things
that are happening out there, there is a real struggle for people in
communities? What are the things that are really happening out there that
people need help for, besides what you have just mentioned?
Dyson: You are sort of going across a whole range of social services I guess with
your question, which is a little outside the Child, Youth and Family
mandate. But of course, fundamental to the security of a family is the
security of tenure of their home. We know that if a person has a home that
they can afford to stay in, they are much more likely to be stable in their
family environment and in their community.
The engagement with school is a critical factor, with kids between 5 and 16,
that they are able to get to school, and that they are not truanting. That is a
critical factor. The family income is really important. The fact that we are
now facing a problem with getting enough unemployed people is something
that will obviously reduce that financial tension and self esteem that we
have in families where they have long-term unemployment.
So all those issues contribute to the security and well being of a family. That
is where it is really important that we continue to take a whole of
Government approach both in terms of the overall vision of our society but
also right down to the operational level and the sorts of things that Paula,
Shannon, Lorraine, and Jo have been talking about really indicate that Child,
Youth and Family has now got the confidence and the capability to engage
much better with the broader section-with education, with housing, with
health, and with police. Those departments have all been mentioned at
various stages of it.
Field: Supplementary to Bill Gudgeon’s question, what I was trying to highlight
with my question was the fact that CYFs clientele is hugely overrepresented
by Maori and Pacific children. The concerns this committee
originally had, and that was what was really behind my question, was
ensuring that we had enough qualified social workers Maori and PI to be
reflective of the clientele base of CYFs. That is what I was getting at, Bill.
Perhaps, just to highlight that issue, if you could just answer that question.
What is the percentage of Maori clientele; what is the percentage of Pacific
clientele for CYFs services?
Pakura: Forty-three percent are Maori, 31 are New Zealand Pakeha, 6.25 are Pacific
Island, and there is a group that choose not to disclose their ethnicity.
Adams: You monitor your performance excellent in regard to outcomes for these
children that you are dealing with. I understand you have a lot of homes
they go into, and all that. Do you have a standard where that child is
actually a functional member back into the community again. Do you have a
measuring stake for that?
Tyler: There’s a real challenge in terms of measuring outcomes for children, but
we are right sort of on the leading edge with that. I would ask Craig to
comment on that. It is a very good question.
Smith: This is a really challenging question. Measuring outcomes in child welfare is
quite difficult. You are not just measuring the completion of an act or a
process. You are thinking about how have you changed the complex
dynamics of human behaviour, not only with an individual but within a
whole family in a social system. We are really well advanced in terms of our
outcomes thinking. We are strongly connected into the work that is being
done around the social report and the outcome measures that will occur at a
national level. You might recall the latest one in terms of our population is a
reduction in child deaths. If you look at the work from the baseline review
it is made very specific what our outcomes are-reduction in the current
maltreatment and reduction in reoffending.
We are having a meeting later this morning to present our service
framework for measuring performance improvements to the officials
advisory group which report to joint Ministers. So we are well along the
track, but we are not naive enough to think that it’s going to be a simple
The reason it’s complex is that measures in social situations are dynamic,
and it is quite possible for us to put in place a measure around one element
of human behaviour, but then it has an adverse consequence on another
element. For example, reducing in the recurrent maltreatment might
inadvertently increase the number of children in care.
So if we are going to introduce a measure such as reducing the recurrent
maltreatment, we also have to have balancing measures that are about
understanding the likely unintended consequences in other parts of the
system. It is a complex area. We are working quite closely with international
experts, one of whom is a colleague of Paula’s from Canada, a man called
Nico Trocme who is a professor from Toronto University. He’s agreed to
be part of our reference group. He is probably the world-leading expert on
outcome measures in child welfare.
Scott: Can I have a sup on that. I just want to ask what the department’s opinion
is on section 59.
Dyson: The department doesn’t have a view on section 59.
Scott: What I want to know really is does that defence cause difficulties for the
department? Do people use that defence? Do they know it’s there even, or
does it not register?
Tyler Our work is quite different and we take a look independent of any other
statutes, whether or not according to the definitions in our Act the child is
in need of care or protective services. Regardless of any criminal action, we
will take action independent under our statute. So that can never be used as
a defence.
Dyson So the recent case would not stop Child, Youth and Family intervening
directly with that family, if Child, Youth and Family determined, under our
criteria, that it was appropriate. It is irrelevant what the correct decision is in
terms of intervention.
Scott So it’s totally separate what happens with the police as to what happens
with Child, Youth and Family?
Dyson Yes.
Adams My second question is that I have had probably too many cases come to my
electoral office that have concerned me, where there is a situation where
parents have a child who has got into behavioural difficulties. The parents
seem to be overridden by the department on restrictions or things they
want to do with their own child. Everything tends to lead towards the rights
of the child, rather than responsibility of a parent, and you have major
conflicts where they are wanting to put certain disciplines in that they
believe is correct for the well-being of that child, yet the department
overrides them. How do we handle those sort of problems?

Pakura: The determination about whether a child is in need of care and protection is
a judgment that is made by a social worker after an investigation. It then
goes to a family group conference and the family make the decisions about
what the plan is. So the determination about whether a child is in need of
care or protection is either agreed to, or not agreed to, at a family group
conference. If it is not agreed to, it then goes to the judiciary to make a
judgment, to make a call.
Adams: These are probably cases that have not got to that stage, but let me give you
an example of a child living at his or her home and wants to move out of
that situation because of restraints the parent is putting on for the
protection of the child, and gets moved to a foster home, or a situation
where the child has greater freedom and can work with people, or move
amongst people, that the parents don’t think is good for the child. Why
does the parents’ right get overridden?
Pakura: I think that if a parent is concerned that their decisions are being overridden
by a social worker, then they need to talk to either the supervisor or a
manager. I cannot comment on individual cases. What I can say to you is
that a front-line social worker’s role is to make a judgment, or to form a
belief, about whether or not a child is in need of care and protection. And if
the outcome is that a child is removed from the home, then that social
worker will have made a judgment at that time.
Adams: They move them not because of the protection issue-that’s where I’m
coming from-but because of the-
Pakura: But they will have made a judgment that the child is at risk, and they are
required, having made that judgment, to ensure that the child is safe.
Dyson: The issue for me, when I am looking at those debates-not very often, but
occasionally happens-where a parent will say that child is better off in our
care, and the considered judgment of the department is that the child is
unsafe in that environment and therefore should be removed. But the issue
for me is has the proper process been undertaken, have all the proper steps
been taken, the full consideration, the fair-balancing of all the different
perspectives, and in the end some of those will be wrong.
A child may be taken out when he or she could have been left safe in their
home. That is possible, and in exactly the same way a child could have been
left in the house when it is unsafe for that child to be left there. But if we
had the proper process, the best practice, the quality decision-making that
we are talking about, that would be an absolute exception that that decision
has been wrong.
Beyer: Can I stop you there. We are going to run over time on this vote. With the
indulgence of the Minister I am quite happy to run over time; it means less
time for the next vote. I have a line-up of three questions. I would like all
sups and all questions to be specific to the estimates please. Getting into
cases that come to your office is all very well, but please relate it to the
estimates, which is what we are focusing on.
Adams: In all fairness, it is not a safety issue that I’m referring to, but I think it is a
major problem. It is not the question of safety in the home, but it is a
question of restrictions on the child, which I think is causing major
Pakura: Yes.
Newman: I have three very quick ones on three different things. A call centre audio
recording, what progress has been made on that?
Willams: We have audio recording in and operating and it’s working incredibly well.
It also has a side effect. We are able to use it for training of our staff, so it’s
been well embraced in the call centre and is working very well. We have had
three requests for transcripts since we have been operating. So, it has been
there since January and working very well.
Newman: So every call is now recorded and archived. How long do you archive it for?
Williams: Indefinitely. These days it comes out on such a small piece of technology
that we keep it indefinitely. We record not only calls coming into the centre
but the calls that are going out to our sites with regard to the case.
Newman: My second question is that there was a call in February for an independent
inspection of departmental residences by Youth Law. Can you tell us what’s
happened as a result of that call to the department to do that. Was there any
response to it?
Dyson: I don’t recall that just off the top of my head.
Tyler:: We can get back on that. We certainly do do regular audits of our residences
as well.
Dyson: I am sorry, I just don’t recall right now the Youth Law independent inquiry.
Newman: Apparently it was Youth Law.
Dyson: Is it all right to get back to you formally about that?
Newman: Yes. And the third thing is, have you a breakdown of the number of repeat
notifications that make up the number of established cases of child abuse?
Dyson: As repeat notification so that the second notification is the child abuse
Newman: No, the fact that five notifications out of 11,000 established cases are about
the same child-
Dyson: It might be one incident, but also repeat notifications might be one incident
that five separate people have rung about?
Newman: No, I am thinking of one child, five separate cases.
Dyson: Over a period of time?
Newman: Yes. In other words, how many children are we actually talking about, and
how many families.
Smith: I can tell you roughly. I will have to come back in much more detail if you
want the specifics. Probably of the 50,000 notifications we are talking about
30,000 distinct children.
Newman: And the next question that adds on to that is how many different families
are we talking about?
Smith: I cannot answer that, but it will be a smaller number. As a result of some of
the inquiries that have occurred over the last few years it relates back to the
earlier questions. We now have a policy to follow up on all siblings within a
family to ensure that there are no safety issues for them. So one would
expect that there would be a smaller number of families than there would
be of distinct child notifications.
Newman: Can you maybe give us a bit more information on that area.
Smith: Certainly.
Newman: That would be good, thank you.
Pakura: We would need to be clear about the definition of family. For some families
it means different things.
Smith: I would like to just add one other point. Distinct notifications does not
necessarily mean about the same issue. It may well be that within the 12-
month period a child has moved into a different developmental stage, or a
different set of circumstances, so it might be a new and unique problem
that is being presented.
Gudgeon: What is the percentage of Maori social workers employed by CYFs, given
that Maori make up 43 percent of your clientele?
Mika-Thomas: I don’t have the specific breakdown of social workers, but of total staff, I
think, off the top of my head, 17 percent of our staff identify as Maori.
Dyson: Is that satisfactory for your answer, or would you like the social work
Gudgeon: I think I need a bit more information on that.
Collins: Just a quick question on the truancy issue that Shannon brought up about
the youth justice area. Do you view truancy, or caregivers allowing truancy
if they know about it, to continue, as an issue that CYFs should have
anything to do with?
Pakura: We get referrals that relate to truancy to go to family group conferences.
Collins: And then you go to family group conferences on those?
Pakura: Yes. Child, Youth and Family convenes the family group conference on
behalf of that person, yes.
Collins: So you take some extra action?
Pakura: Yes.
Beyer: Thank you very much Minister.
conclusion of evidence


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