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Newstalk ZB discovers CYFSWATCH – so does CYFS.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on February 10, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH

Monday, 22 January 2007

Newstalk ZB WebsiteWebsite names CYF worker22/01/2007 13:01:31

Child Youth and Family has condemned a new website which is highly critical of the agency’s workers.
The anonymous blog site says it will publish details of staff including home addresses, vehicle registration numbers and photos. So far only one staff member has been named on the site. The site promises to publish uncensored stories which will ‘name and shame’ CYF workers.
A disgruntled parent describes the worker’s physical appearance in unflattering terms and accuses her of erratic and bizarre behaviour when working with families. The department says it is powerless to shut down the site, but it is obviously a concern.
Child Youth and Family general manager of operations Lorraine Williams says social workers deal with danger, violence and anger on a daily basis and continue to turn up to work with the belief they are making a difference in the lives of young people.
She says CYF has been criticised on Internet sites in the past but this is the first time staff members have been named.
Ms Williams says the department cannot promise it will always get it right but staff will continue to work hard for children in what is a tough and stressful environment.

 

Monday, 22 January 2007

Newstalk ZB Interview Questions – and CYFSWATCH answers.

Rachel Morton (Journalist – Newstalk ZB) 22/1/07

What’s prompted you to start this website?

CYFSWATCH was prompted to start this website, as going through what you term “appropriate channels” is a waste of time, as the system set up to call CYFS Social Workers to account is self perpetuating in favour of the CYFS Social Worker, as opposed to their victims (families). For example, if I am a disgruntled parent who is unhappy with a CYFS intervention, my first point of contact is the CYFS Social Worker, then the CYFS Social Workers Supervisor, then the CYFS Branch Manager, then the office of the Children’s Commissioner, then the Ombudsman, and finally, the Minister in charge of the Department. Each step results in systemic rationalisation (and thus approval) of the previous step. When you consider that children have repeatedly died in CYFS care, and that no-one has ever been held to account (except the esoteric “system”), then it is quite clear that going through the appropriate channels is not useful, and that it ultimately costs the lives of the very people CYFS claim they are trying to assist.

Are you aware that you could be charged with defamation for these types of comments?

Defamation is covered within the Law of Tort, and CYFSWATCH believe that you are more specifically referring to Libel. Lawyers charge around $200-$300 per hour for working on such cases, which precedent would suggest are mightly hard to prove. First of all, CYFS would have to decide as to how much they wanted to sue CYFSWATCH for: if under $200,000, they would need to file proceedings in the District Court, and if they wish to sue CYFSWATCH for over $200,000 they would need to issue proceedings in the High Court. However, since 1992, applicants may not nominate an amount of claim if the source of the alleged libel is media based. CYFSWATCH would argue that a blogsite is “media based”. The Court would nominate what they considered to be appropriate damages, should an application for damages be successful. The main defence here lies in the arguement in posts being of “truth and honest opinion” and thus not defamatory. Alternatively, CYFSWATCH could argue qualified priviledge, or we could even argue that a person named on the site has no good character at all, and thus their reputation cannot be defamed. Whatever the issue, CYFSWATCH feels reasonably confident in defending any Statement of Claim should one arise.

Do you feel you’re going too far by asking for photos, personal addresses and car registrations?

CYFS run a system called CYRIS which has a plethora of intensely personal information about 1000’s of families, much of the information of which CYFSWATCH would suggest is way over the top in terms of “what they need to know”. CYFS record every phone call, email, and meeting, without the informed consent of the various parties present. Is that going too far? Besides, if the CYFS Manangent team are so confident that their Social Workers are beyond reproach, then they will have no problem whatsoever in the activities of CYFSWATCH. In the words of Labour Party President Mike Williams, CYFSWATCH believes that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant. The purpose of calling for as much contact information as possible is to ensure transparency and accountability, two features remarkably absent from the Department of Child, Youth, and Family.

CYFSWATCH

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

New Zealand Herald Questions to CYFSWATCH – and our answers

Simon Collins – Social Issues Reporter NZ Herald:

1. Who are you?

Who we are is not important to the debate. What is important are the 1000’s of parents and families that have been brutalised via state sanctioned abuse by the corporate cult that has become Child, Youth & Family. It is most interesting to hear a number of commenators decry our anonimity, and the powerlessness they feel in not being able to stop our activities. CYFSWATCH wonder if these same commentators ever stop to consider how anonymous the Social Workers keep themselves from accountability, and how powerless families feel when dealing with a Dept that specifies no consequences for their Social Workers in the 1989 Children, Young Persons, and their Families Act – we know this, as we have read the Act.

2/ Can you tell me your own personal experiences with CYFS which led to your decision to start this blogsite?

CYFSWATCH was prompted to start this website, as going through “appropriate channels” is a waste of time, as the system set up to call CYFS Social Workers to account is self perpetuating in favour of the CYFS Social Worker, as opposed to their victims (families). For example, if I am a disgruntled parent who is unhappy with a CYFS intervention, my first point of contact is the CYFS Social Worker, then the CYFS Social Workers Supervisor, then the CYFS Branch Manager, then the office of the Children’s Commissioner, then the Ombudsman, and finally, the Minister in charge of the Department. Each step results in systemic rationalisation (and thus approval) of the previous step. When you consider that children have repeatedly died in CYFS care, and that no-one has ever been held to account (except the esoteric “system”), then it is quite clear that going through the appropriate channels is not useful, and that it ultimately costs the lives of the very people CYFS claim they are trying to assist.

3/ Where do you live?

No Comment.

4/ How old is the child/children involved?

CYFSWATCH has been erroneously reported as being authored by a “disgruntled parent” – this report is not correct.

5/ Are you involved in any other organisation, such as PANIC: http://www.panic.org.nz/index2.htm ?

No.

6/ What do you hope to achieve by naming CYFS workers?

Accountability and transparency from the workers themselves – they can no longer expect to hide behind the Act, the Dept, the Children’s Commissioner, The Ombudsman, or the Minister, and act with impunity. A self-referential guide is a very dangerous guide indeed – and the Government sanctions such a toxic social service intervention environment.

7/ How do you think our system of child protection could be improved?

Make interventions family centred, as opposed to child centred; exercise discernment around the nature of what intervention is suitable for what family – one size does not fit all; disenfranchise the “children’s rights” lobby and return to a discussion of parents rights; make family interventions evidence based, as opposed to ideology based; don’t marginalise fathers in the care of their children; have a psychological assessment as a mandatory requirement of an employment application for CYFS; set up an Independent Royal Commission of Enquiry into CYFS with wide parameters and parents at centre stage, so that we can get some truth into the debate; utilise NGO’s more in community interventions.

8/ What have you done so far, and what do you plan to do, to achieve change?

CYFSWATCH has experienced “going through appropriate channels”. We have found this process to be deliberately unsuccessful on behalf of CYFS, and have thus chosen another avenue for redress. It would appear that we have struck a nerve. Ultimately, we believe that the 1989 Child, Youth & family Act must be urgently reviewed by an independent body. What is not well known about this legislation is that it was the Social Work industry was responsible for drafting their own legislation – imagine if the journalism field could write its own rules of engagement without any external scrutiny?

9/ Is there a phone number where I could ring you?

No.

10/ Are you aware that you could be charged with defamation for these types of comments?

Defamation is covered within the Law of Tort, and CYFSWATCH believe that you are more specifically referring to Libel. Lawyers charge around $200-$300 per hour for working on such cases, which precedent would suggest is mighty hard to prove. First of all, CYFS would have to decide as to how much they wanted to sue CYFSWATCH for: if under $200,000, they would need to file proceedings in the District Court, and if they wish to sue CYFSWATCH for over $200,000 they would need to issue proceedings in the High Court. However, since 1992, applicants may not nominate an amount of claim if the source of the alleged libel is media based. Whether CYFSWATCH is deemed to be “media based” has not as yet been determined by Precedent. The Court would nominate what they considered to be appropriate damages, should an application for damages be successful. The main defence here lies in the argument in posts being of “truth and honest opinion” and thus not defamatory. Alternatively, CYFSWATCH could argue qualified privilege, or we could even argue that a person named on the site has no good character at all, and thus their reputation cannot be defamed. Whatever the issue, CYFSWATCH feels reasonably confident in defending any Statement of Claim should one arise.

11/ Do you feel you’re going too far by asking for photos, personal addresses and car registrations?

CYFS run a system called CYRIS which has a plethora of intensely personal information about 1000’s of families, much of the information of which CYFSWATCH would suggest is way over the top in terms of “what they need to know”. CYFS record every phone call, email, and meeting, without the informed consent of the various parties present. Is that going too far? Besides, if the CYFS Management team are so confident that their Social Workers are beyond reproach, then they will have no problem whatsoever in the activities of CYFSWATCH. In the words of Labour Party President Mike Williams, CYFSWATCH believes that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant. The purpose of calling for as much contact information as possible is to ensure transparency and accountability, two features remarkably absent from the Department of Child, Youth, and Family.

12/ Why is CYFSWATCH maintaining anonymity?

To illustrate how frustrating it is for parents and families that become “anonymous” casualties of the state sanctioned corporate abuse of CYFS towards them. CYFS CEO Peter Hughes accuses CYFSWATCH personnel of being cowardly – for goodness sake, if CYFSWATCH lacked any intestinal fortitude, we wouldn’t have gone out and picked a fight with one of New Zealand’s most well resourced state organisations.

13/ How many emails have been sent to the hotmail account, and roughly
what proportion are supportive/against the blog site?

CYFSWATCH haven’t had a chance to check – email contacts and media enquiries are coming through faster than we can reply. The %age of positive / negative at a guess is running 95% positive, and 5% negative. All of the negative to date is ad hominem, so not worth getting too concerned about.

14/ Have CYFS or any other official group contacted the blog site to persuade/demand/threaten it be shut down?

No, negotiation skills are not known to be a part of the PSA or CYFS ideology, so it seems that they have opted for “trial by media”.

Hope this helps.

The CYFSWATCH Team.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Is Google censoring CYFSWATCH news search results on the behest of the NZ Government?

From http://www.whaleoil.co.nz blogsite in “comments” section:

CYFSwatch blog went quiet for five days and now it has magically been updated with a whole lot of weak stories against CYFS that would make a fair minded person dubious and a whole lot of others that would make the case for mocking CYFS unfair.

Most humorous of all is that Google has made a statement on the blog having been exposed that they are filtering the News search results. As it is Google that the Govt has very obviously enlisted to censor news searches (which also went very quite for the past 4 days.)

In Googles spiel they mention all related (15 odd) search terms that are popular except the obvious one CYFS. That returns only the now state run pretend Blog and other well known and would be well missed sites. Like CYFS itself and PANIC.
They make out that attention to CYPS is uncontrollable and healthy.

And all the Sheep of NZ go Baaaah as the wool falls down over their poor eyes.
The steep drop of articles and the now hand picked ones of a clearly highjacked blog are a poor effort at a clever strategy that should have been managed better by the Govt stooges.

CYFSWATCH replies:

The CYFSWATCH site has not been “captured” by anyone (yet), however if Google are indeed filtering out CYFSWATCH in their search engine as a result of being asked to do so by the NZ Labour Government, then freedom of speech in New Zealand just took a huge body blow. What in the hell is happening to our country? And why are most its citizens not standing up against this totalitarian supression and oppression?

BTW, the site was inactive for 4 days owing to the holiday weekend – even CYFSWATCH have families, and need to spend time with them.

?

No.

6/What do you hope to achieve by naming CYFS workers?

Accountability and transparency from the workers themselves – they can no longer expect to hide behind the Act, the Dept, the Childrens Commissioner, The Ombudsman, or the Minister, and act with impunity. A self-referential guide is a very dangerous guide indeed – and the Government sanctions such a toxic social service intervention environment.

7/ How do you think our system of child protection could be improved?

Make interventions family centred, as opposed to child centred; exercise discernment around the nature of what intervention is suitable for what family – one size does not fit all; disenfranchise the “childrens rights” lobby and return to a discussion of parents rights; make family interventions evidence based, as opposed to ideology based; don’t marginalise fathers in the care of their children; have a psychological assessment as a mandatory requirement of an employment application for CYFS; set up an Independent Royal Commission of Enquiry into CYFS with wide parameters and parents at centre stage, so that we can get some truth into the debate; utilise NGO’s more in community interventions.

Will this do for a start?

8/ What have you done so far, and what do you plan to do, to achieve change?

CYFSWATCH has experienced “going through appropriate channels”. We have found this process to be deliberately unsuccessful on behalf of CYFS, and have thus chosen another avenue for redress. It would appear that we have struck a nerve. Ultimately, we believe that the 1989 Child, Youth & family Act must be urgently reviewed by an independent body. What is not well known about this legislation is that it was the Social Work industry that was responsible for drafting their own legislation – imagine if the journalism field could write its own rules of engagement without any external scrutiny?

9/ Is there a phone number where I could ring you?

No.

10/ Are you aware that you could be charged with defamation for these types of comments?

Defamation is covered within the Law of Tort, and CYFSWATCH believe that you are more specifically referring to Libel. Lawyers charge around $200-$300 per hour for working on such cases, which precedent would suggest are mighty hard to prove. First of all, CYFS would have to decide as to how much they wanted to sue CYFSWATCH for: if under $200,000, they would need to file proceedings in the District Court, and if they wish to sue CYFSWATCH for over $200,000 they would need to issue proceedings in the High Court. However, since 1992, applicants may not nominate an amount of claim if the source of the alleged libel is media based. Whether CYFSWATCH is deemed to be “media based” has not as yet been determined by Precedent. The Court would nominate what they considered to be appropriate damages, should an application for damages be successful. The main defence here lies in the argument in posts being of “truth and honest opinion” and thus not defamatory. Alternatively, CYFSWATCH could argue qualified privilege, or we could even argue that a person named on the site has no good character at all, and thus their reputation cannot be defamed. Whatever the issue, CYFSWATCH feels reasonably confident in defending any Statement of Claim should one arise.

CYFSWATCH

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

CYFSWATCH Site Prompts call for an Independent CYFS Complaints Authority

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10420459

Anti-CYF website prompts call for complaints authority
10:20AM Tuesday January 23, 2007

The publication of an anonymous blog website which is critical of Child Youth and Family (CYF) workers shows an independent CYF complaints authority is needed, a lobby group has said.

The site says it will publish details of staff – including home addresses – as well as uncensored stories which will ‘name and shame’ CYF workers.

The national director of Family First, Bob McCoskrie said the lobby group received many complaints from families dealing with CYF.

“Family First is being regularly contacted by families who claim to have been unfairly treated by CYF social workers,” he said, “yet these parents whose families have been torn apart have no independent body to appeal to.”

Mr McCroskie said the Government should look at forming a complaints authority urgently.

On Monday, CFY said social workers worked hard for children in a tough and stressful environment but that it could not promise to always get it right.

So far only one staff member has been named on the site.

– NZPA

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Family First Press Release 23/1/07

MEDIA RELEASE
23 January 2007
Anti-CYF Blogsite Due to Lack of Accountability
Family First calls for a CYF Complaint Authority

A new blogsite which offers parents a means to vent their frustrations at Child Youth and Family is simply an outcome of a lack of transparency and accountability over the activities of CYF.
“There is no avenue for people who feel they have been unfairly treated by the Child, Youth and Family,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.
“Family First is being regularly contacted by families who claim to have been unfairly treated by CYF Social Workers – yet these parents who’s families have been torn apart have no independent body to appeal to. Their only option is a costly court process where CYFS have an unlimited pool of resources to defend its actions, courtesy of the taxpayer.”
“This is grossly unfair when families are being ripped apart, often just based on the subjective judgment of a social worker,” says Mr McCoskrie.
CYF themselves admit that they do not always get it right. There is also evidence that CYFS are not following their own procedures, and are not acting where they should.
Bob McCoskrie has a background of social work in South Auckland for 15 years and knows too well how difficult it is to get CYF to intervene on the really urgent cases. Yet there is no real avenue for appeal in these cases either.
“There is a Health and Disability Commissioner, a Police Complaints Authority, even a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal,” says Mr McCoskrie. “We desperately need an independent body to hear complaints about the highly sensitive nature of intervening in families.”
Family First calls on all MP’s, the majority who will have received anecdotal evidence of claims of unfair treatment by CYF, to support the urgent establishment of a CYF Complaint Authority.

ENDS

For more information contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie JP – NATIONAL DIRECTOR
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42
email. bob@familyfirst.org.nz | http://www.familyfirst.org.nz
P.O. Box 276-133, Manukau City, Auckland, New Zealand

Family First NZ (Inc) was formed in April 2006 to speak up in the public domain on family issues. It has a Board of Trustees, a Board of Reference including Ex-All Black Michael Jones, TV personalities Jim Hickey and Anthony Samuels, over 200 financial supporters and over 2,000 e-mail supporters.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Common Questions CYFSWATCH is receiving from the media – and CYFSWATCH response.

CYFSWATCH Response to some common media questions:

Owing to a huge media response, CYFSWATCH have prepared answers to some of the more common questions we have received.

We trust that the following will be helpful.

The CYFSWATCH Team.

1. Who are you?

Who we are is not important to the debate. What is important are the 1000’s of parents and families that have been brutalised via state sanctioned abuse by the corporate cult that has become Child, Youth & Family. It is most interesting to hear a number of commentators decry our anonymity, and the powerlessness they feel in not being able to stop our activities. CYFSWATCH wonder if these same commentators ever stop to consider how anonymous the Social Workers keep themselves from accountability, and how powerless families feel when dealing with a Dept that specifies no consequences for their Social Workers in the 1989 Children, Young Persons, and their Families Act – we know this, as we have read the Act.

2/ Can you tell me what led to your decision to start this blogsite?

CYFSWATCH was prompted to start this website, as going through “appropriate channels” is a waste of time, as the system set up to call CYFS Social Workers to account is self perpetuating in favour of the CYFS Social Worker, as opposed to their victims (families). For example, if I am a disgruntled parent who is unhappy with a CYFS intervention, my first point of contact is the CYFS Social Worker, then the CYFS Social Workers Supervisor, then the CYFS Branch Manager, then the office of the Children’s Commissioner, then the Ombudsman, and finally, the Minister in charge of the Department. Each step results in systemic rationalisation (and thus approval) of the previous step. When you consider that children have repeatedly died in CYFS care, and that no-one has ever been held to account (except the esoteric “system”), then it is quite clear that going through the appropriate channels is not useful, and that it ultimately costs the lives of the very people CYFS claim they are trying to assist.

3/ Where do you live?

No Comment.

4/ Are there any child/children involved in your choice to launch this website?

CYFSWATCH has been erroneously reported as being authored by a “disgruntled parent” – this report is not correct.

5/ Are you involved in any other organisation, such as PANIC: http://www.panic.org.nz/index2.htm ?

No.

6/ What do you hope to achieve by naming CYFS workers?

Accountability and transparency from the workers themselves – they can no longer expect to hide behind the Act, the Dept, the Children’s Commissioner, The Ombudsman, or the Minister, and act with impunity. A self-referential guide is a very dangerous guide indeed – and the Government sanctions such a toxic social service intervention environment.

7/ How do you think our system of child protection could be improved?

Make interventions family centred, as opposed to child centred; exercise discernment around the nature of what intervention is suitable for what family – one size does not fit all; disenfranchise the “children’s rights” lobby and return to a discussion of parents rights; make family interventions evidence based, as opposed to ideology based; don’t marginalise fathers in the care of their children; have a psychological assessment as a mandatory requirement of an employment application for CYFS; set up an Independent Royal Commission of Enquiry into CYFS with wide parameters and parents at centre stage, so that we can get some truth into the debate; utilise NGO’s more in community interventions.

8/ What have you done so far, and what do you plan to do, to achieve change?

CYFSWATCH has experienced “going through appropriate channels”. We have found this process to be deliberately unsuccessful on behalf of CYFS, and have thus chosen another avenue for redress. It would appear that we have struck a nerve. Ultimately, we believe that the 1989 Child, Youth & family Act must be urgently reviewed by an independent body. What is not well known about this legislation is that it was the Social Work industry was responsible for drafting their own legislation – imagine if the journalism field could write its own rules of engagement without any external scrutiny?

9/ Is there a phone number where I could ring you?

No.

10/ Are you aware that you could be charged with defamation for these types of comments?

Defamation is covered within the Law of Tort, and CYFSWATCH believe that you are more specifically referring to Libel. Lawyers charge around $200-$300 per hour for working on such cases, which precedent would suggest is mighty hard to prove. First of all, CYFS would have to decide as to how much they wanted to sue CYFSWATCH for: if under $200,000, they would need to file proceedings in the District Court, and if they wish to sue CYFSWATCH for over $200,000 they would need to issue proceedings in the High Court. However, since 1992, applicants may not nominate an amount of claim if the source of the alleged libel is media based. Whether CYFSWATCH is deemed to be “media based” has not as yet been determined by Precedent. The Court would nominate what they considered to be appropriate damages, should an application for damages be successful. The main defence here lies in the argument in posts being of “truth and honest opinion” and thus not defamatory. Alternatively, CYFSWATCH could argue qualified privilege, or we could even argue that a person named on the site has no good character at all, and thus their reputation cannot be defamed. Whatever the issue, CYFSWATCH feels reasonably confident in defending any Statement of Claim should one arise.

11/ Do you feel you’re going too far by asking for photos, personal addresses and car registrations?

CYFS run a system called CYRIS which has a plethora of intensely personal information about 1000’s of families, much of the information of which CYFSWATCH would suggest is way over the top in terms of “what they need to know”. CYFS record every phone call, email, and meeting, without the informed consent of the various parties present. Is that going too far? Besides, if the CYFS Management team are so confident that their Social Workers are beyond reproach, then they will have no problem whatsoever in the activities of CYFSWATCH. In the words of Labour Party President Mike Williams, CYFSWATCH believes that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant. The purpose of calling for as much contact information as possible is to ensure transparency and accountability, two features remarkably absent from the Department of Child, Youth, and Family.

12/ Why is CYFSWATCH maintaining anonymity?

To illustrate how frustrating it is for parents and families that become “anonymous” casualties of the state sanctioned corporate abuse of CYFS towards them. CYFS CEO Peter Hughes accuses CYFSWATCH personnel of being cowardly – for goodness sake, if CYFSWATCH lacked any intestinal fortitude, we wouldn’t have gone out and picked a fight with one of New Zealand’s most well resourced state organisations.

13/ How many emails have been sent to the hotmail account, and roughly
what proportion are supportive/against the blog site?

CYFSWATCH haven’t had a chance to check – email contacts and media enquiries are coming through faster than we can reply. The %age of positive / negative at a guess is running 95% positive, and 5% negative. All of the negative to date is ad hominem, so not worth getting too concerned about.

14/ Have CYFS or any other official group contacted the blog site to persuade/demand/threaten it be shut down?

No, negotiation skills are not known to be a part of the PSA or CYFS ideology, so it seems that they have opted for “trial by media”.

Hope this helps.

The CYFSWATCH Team.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

CYFSWATCH latest TV and Radio news feeds.

Cut and paste each address to your address line:

TV1: Police called in over “CYFS-Bashing”

http://tvnz.co.nz/view/video_popup_windows_skin/967185

TV1 Close Up:

http://tvnz.co.nz/view/video_popup_windows_skin/967243

TV3: http://tv3.co.nz/default.aspx?tabid=112&articleID=19278#vidlist19278

Newstalk ZB News (Multiple stories): http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/

NZ Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10420459

United Future New Zealand (Scoop): http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0701/S00117.htm

Public Services Association (Scoop): http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0701/S00099.htm

STUFF: http://www.stuff.co.nz/3937850a11.html

Aardvark Website: http://www.aardvark.co.nz/commentary.shtml#continue

 

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Social Worker Registration Board Press Release 24-1-07

Public Complaints Avenue For Social Workers
Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 9:31 am

Press Release: Social Workers Registration Board

Public Complaints Avenue For Registered Social Workers

The agency responsible for professional registration of social workers in New Zealand says that naming of CYFS social workers on an anonymous website is a completely underhand form of misguided intimidation that ignores the steps put in place for increased accountability of social workers.

The purpose of Social Work Registration is to protect the safety of members of the public. The Social Workers Registration Act (2003) provides a mechanism to ensure that social workers be competent to practice, be held accountable for the way in which they practice and to enhance the professionalism of social workers.

Only one of the social workers named on the site is a registered social worker. The other named staff members on the web site are not registered. However four have applied to be registered but have yet to complete the process, says Shannon Pakura, Social Work Professional Advisor from the Social Workers Registration Board.

“The Social Workers Registration Board has a robust complaint process for any person who believes they have a valid complaint against a registered social worker. The Social Workers Registration Act has seen an independent Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal established and this provides an avenue for complaints.

Currently there are approximately 1350 social workers who are registered.

CYFSWATCH Replies:

Registration with the SWRB is VOLUNTARY; the SWRB cannot overturn a CYFS Intervention decision; Shannon Pakura “blew up” as the former CYFS CEO; the “robust complaint process” has not to date resulted in any sanctions against any Social Workers.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

CYFWATCH has won in the Court of Public Opinion.

TVNZ Close Up Poll Question: (24/1/07)

Do you think the website “naming and shaming” CYF social workers should be taken down?

Yes, shut it down: 24%

No, leave it up: 76%

http://tvnz.co.nz/view/news_index_skin/news_index_group

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Would Google Shut down the CYFSWATCH site? Precedent suggests “No”.

Found on http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz

“I’ve been looking for an example of Google deleting a defamatory blog on Blogger… here’s a letter which is said to have been sent back from Google:

“Thank you for writing regarding content posted on blogspot.com. Although we host that site, we are not in a position to adjudicate whether the content is defamatory or not.

Accordingly, consistent with section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act, Blogger does not remove material in response to allegations of defamation. In cases where a contact email address is listed on the page, we recommend working directly with the author to have this information removed or changed.

We are sorry we cannot assist you further at this time.

Sincerely,
Blogger Support Team”

Source (comment section): http://www.blogherald.com/2005/06/30/its-time-for-google-to-act-on-blogger/

Thursday, 25 January 2007

CYFSWATCH in line for “millions of hits” internationally.

Posted from Ardvark:

Google holds the ball

25 January 2007
Companies such as Yahoo and Google today carry an enormous amount of clout on the Net, and with that influence comes a massive burden of responsibility.

Given the global, borderless nature of the Net, just staying out of legal trouble can be a major headache when you’re trying to please everyone at once.

When Yahoo bent to the will of Chinese authorities and handed over evidence resulting in the imprisonment of bloggers writing anti-government pieces, many in the west were appalled.

Likewise, the apparent acceptance of censorship by Microsoft, Yahoo and Google in response to the Chinese government’s demands is something that is hard for many to swallow.

And now Google may well be forced to make another line-call, but this time the bullying will come from our own New Zealand government.

Yes, I’m talking about the story that just won’t die — the CYFWatch blog and the way it’s got right up the nose of so many in power who appear to have some dirty laundry they’d rather not be aired.

According to this report from the NZ Herald, the government’s lawyers are trying to bully Google into pulling the blog concerned, just like the Chinese government did.

Of course the sheer stupidity of this move beggars belief.

It should not surprise some of us however, who have watched in amazement as this issue has been repeatedly mishandled and, as a result, has exploded from being just a little backwater bitch-blog into becoming a major blot on the government’s copybook.

And now, thanks to the government’s continued inept handling of things, the whole issue threatens to fall under the global spotlight of bloggers and mainstream media from around the world.

Now the nation’s appalling track-record in child abuse will be highlighted for the entire planet to see — all because a hand-full of incompetent public servants in the Ministry for Social Development simply don’t understand how to handle Net-related issues.

New Zealand’s government will undoubtedly be compared to that of China, as news of its attempted suppression of free speech becomes headline news around the world.

A website that would have otherwise attracted just hundreds of visitors will now probably score millions of hits and the very issues the government sought to suppress will become disseminated and publicised around the globe.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the content on that site, the big story today is just how stupid the government and its lawyers really are.

The question all Kiwi taxpayers should be asking is “why didn’t they get expert advice on how to handle this issue” before blundering in with their lawyers locked and loaded?

And why are we spending what will inevitably be a huge amount of taxpayer money on legal action in another jurisdiction, when that money would clearly be better spent addressing the problems that have prompted such a site to appear in the first place?

Listen Helen, Mike and all you other clearly Net-culture-ignorant public servants. Give me a call next time you’re faced with a situation like this and I’ll explain how things work in the new world of cyberspace.

I’ll explain that the worst thing you can do is effectively shout “don’t look at this, look-away, look-away” at the top of your virtual voice.

Do you think the government will listen?

Of course not. There will always be a culture-clash between those in power and those who have the power to challenge their attempts at stifling free speech.

But now the ball is well and truly in Google’s court.

Will the Net-giant capitulate to the bully-boy demands of a tiny South Pacific nation’s minority government? Or will they remember that their customers and their very raison d’etre are the millions (perhaps billions) of internet users who abhor censorship of their beloved web.

Which way do you think Google will jump?

How will it change your opinion of Google if they ask “how high madam” when our government says “jump”?

Do you think the government has handled this whole issue badly and is simply pouring fat on the fire by its latest threats and plans of legal action?

Given how much the government spends on “consultants” and “expert advice”, should they have invested just a small amount of money on getting some intelligent input before they acted in this case?

Thursday, 25 January 2007

CYFS, you can’t beat the Net – another tragic story.

Posted from http://www.aardvark.co.nzCYF, you can’t beat the Net24 January 2007

The website currently highlighting concerns over the culture of arrogance that seems pervasive within the government’s CYF agency is now the focus of intense legal pressure.

According to NZ Herald reports, the Ministry of Social Development CEO Peter Hughes has told taxpayer-funded lawyers to “do whatever is necessary to get rid of this website” and claims “we will be working 24/7 until that is done.

Well I’ve got bad news for Peter, this kind of stormtrooper tactic simply is not going to work when it comes to suppressing material on the Net.

Clearly Mr Hughes lacks even the most basic understanding of how the technology, and more importantly — the culture of the Net actually work.s

The concept of a government (or agency thereof) suppressing fact, opinion or open discussion through the rule of law has long since disappeared in the 21st century — it just can’t be done.

And today, I’m telling my story of the way CYF wastes taxpayer’s money while indulging in bullying, blocking and decidedly unprofessional tactics.

As I mentioned yesterday, my teenage daughter found herself unexpectedly pregnant last year and decided that it would be in the best interests of the child, herself and some childless couple that an adoption be organised.

Now I have to say that this was a very brave and selfless decision on her part, in an era when adoptions have fallen to an all-time low and there’s almost a stigma surrounding anyone who’d give up their child in this way.

However, there’s just no way that a 19-year-old, in the middle of her education and without any job or other independent means of support could really give a child the opportunities and quality parenting that such kids need to grow up as positive members of society — and she knew this.

My partner and I were in no position to contribute to the upbringing of such a child but towards the end of the pregnancy, we became aware (through friends) of a couple who would make ideal adoptive parents.

Now this would seem to be a win-win-win situation for the baby, my daughter and the otherwise childless couple involved.

This couple came highly recommended by friends and after examining their own situation and establishing that they were good people who’d simply been dealt a tough hand by mother nature, everyone appeared happy.

What’s more, this couple had already applied to adopt children and had thus been carefully vetted by the relevant authorities — what could go wrong?

Well the answer to that was (of course) CYF.

We figured that the best way to handle the whole matter was for the adoptive parents to roll up to the hospital during the delivery and take the child home with them as soon as it was declared fit and healthy.

This would avoid the situation where the mother’s hormones kick in and subsequently create a strong bonding emotion with the child.

But CYF said no.

Their “policy”, we were told, was that the birth mother should look after the child for a period of almost two weeks before it could be handed over to the adoptive parents.

Now this seemed utterly stupid to all concerned. Why force a birth mother into the situation where she will inevitably form a strong bond with the child before they are separated? Why make the adoptive parents wait such an interminable length of time with the threat that the birth-mother will be overwhelmed by hormones and bonding to the point where she changes her mind.

It should be mentioned right now that there is no law that forbids the adoptive parents from collecting the child from the delivery room, none at all. It’s quite legal for them to do so — but it’s CYF “policy” that this must never happen.

When I asked CYF what would happen if we allowed the adoptive parents to do this the threats started rolling out.

If my daughter handed over the child in this way, CYF would oppose the adoption and a placement order would be denied. The child would be taken from the adoptive parents and placed into a home of CYF’s selection.

This was made extremely clear — if you don’t adhere to our “policy” (which is *not* the law) then the child, your daughter and the adoptive parents will pay the price.

At this stage I asked why this was CYF policy.

We were told that it was because the mother needed a reasonable period of time in which to change her mind after the birth.

I pointed out that right now (before the birth) my daughter was thinking rationally, reasonably and logically. Whether that frame of mind would persist after many hours of labour and a flood of hormones was unpredictable – and that being made to care for that child over a two-week period would almost certainly confuse and complicate issues to the point where her decision-making abilities may well be compromised.

Was this in the best interests of the child?

Indeed, I asked just that question — and got this rather stunning response:

“The United Nations has declared that the best place for a child is with its parents and if that’s not possible, with family. If that’s not possible then it’s with someone of their own race in their own country and if that’s not possible, it’s adoption to a foreign country”.

What the hell?

I asked why the CYF person was telling me what the UN was deciding was best for my daughter and her soon to be born child.

She repeated this little bit of canned prose “The United Nations has declared…”

Yes, it was brick-wall time!

So I asked to speak to her supervisor.

Exactly the same “I’m sorry but this is our policy and you have no choice” attitude was encountered.

I then moved further up the chain…

You guessed it — those I’d spoken to earlier were 100% correct, this is CYF policy. Even though you may be legally entitled to hand over the child at the delivery room, it’s against our policy and we will take the child if you do.

I also asked whether it would be possible for someone else to look after the child for those first couple of weeks prior to hand-over.

That would be fine I was told, it’s only the (already approved) adoptive parents who couldn’t do this without breaching CYF policy.

“So *anyone* else can look after the child? Even someone we just picked at random off the street?”

“Yes, that’s right — although I wouldn’t recommend that” was the reply.

Hang on a minute. According to CYF policy, I could haul some potential paedophile or murderer off the street, hand over my daughter’s child for two weeks and leave them to care for it — and that’s okay with CYF.

It’s no wonder so many of our most defenseless kids have been abused or slaughtered while in CYF’s “care” if this is their attitude.

I should mention that all during this time, we had another CYF worker trying to convince my daughter to keep her child and go on the DPB, like so many other young solo mothers.

“Why not keep the child, the government will pay you a good benefit and you can bring it up yourself?” was the message being regularly delivered here.

I thought CYF was supposed to be non-judgmental and unbiased in respect to a parent’s choices?

Maybe I’m old-school or just stupid, but isn’t it better that a child be brought up in a loving, caring two-parent home where there it gets a good chance at life?

Doesn’t it make sense that my daughter continue her education and become a positive contributor to society rather than a drain on the public purse for the next 16 years as a solo mother, struggling to provide a balanced upbringing to her child?

At this point my partner and I decided that we had no option but to care for this child during those first couple of weeks. Now you might think that this should have been our first option anyway — but we are/were on the bones of our arse so having my missus take two weeks off work immediately before Christmas was a major problem.

I asked CYF “If this child were placed in a CYF home for those two weeks, would that home get some kind of financial support?”

“Yes” I was told.

“So if my partner and I have no option but to care for this child for two weeks, will we get any compensation for the costs and lost income involved?”

“No” I was informed, “you are family”.

Me: “What if I dragged someone off the street?”

CYF: “They could apply for assistance during that period”

I then asked “if the child were taken into CYF care for those two weeks, could you guarantee me that it wouldn’t end up becoming just another victim of that care in the way that too many others have?”

CYF: “What do you mean?”

Me: “I mean abused, or killed while in CYF care”

“Yes, I can guarantee that” I was assured.

Me: “How can you guarantee that, will you be looking after it yourself?”

CYF: “No, but our carers are all approved by the department”

Me: “Were the ‘carers’ of those other kids that were abused or killed approved?”

CYF: “Yes”

Me: “So what’s changed? How can you possibly guarantee the safety of my grandkid then?”

At which point I was told that the conversation was going nowhere and that if I wasn’t happy with the department’s stance, attitude or policy I should take it up with the Commissioner for Children or the minister.

That’s my rather unpleasant dealing with CYF.

They *do* bully people.

They *do* threaten people.

They are interested only in following policy and seemingly unconcerned with the best interests of anyone but themselves.

They *did* say my daughter could give her child to *anyone* (even a potential paedophile or murderer) to care for — but refused to allow the already approved adoptive parents to do so during that first couple of weeks.

Escalating complaints and concerns within CYF gets you absolutely no where, the higher you go, the greater the obstruction.

I now know why there are so very few adoptions these days and why so many young women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant are forced into becoming solo mothers or having abortions. The amount of pressure applied to such women to become a burden on the taxpayer is intense — they are made to feel as if they are bad people if they don’t keep their kid and go on the DPB.

It’s no wonder we have such a problem with youth crime when so many young women are forced into the role of parent by this pressure, at a time when they are totally unprepared and often unwilling.

Is this what we pay our taxes for? Is this what CYF is really about?

It would appear so.

Fortunately, all has ended well — in spite of CYF, certainly not because of them.

My partner and I looked after the kid for a couple of weeks although, because my daughter was living with us, it became an intensely difficult and emotional job to give up the child. I curse CYF and their “policy” enforced under threat of “confiscation” for causing such heartache and grief so unnecessarily.

Our family is still trying to recover from the financial burden that the loss of income and other factors have created in the wake of what should have been a very simple, straight-forward and happy event.

The adoption is an open one, my daughter is able to visit her son and will always be known to him as his birth mother. The adoptive parents are over-the-moon with their lives and the child is thriving with their care and attention. I wonder what the outcome would have been if he’d gone into CYF’s “care” or my daughter had been brainwashed into dropping out of her education and living in a one-bedroomed flat while trying to bring him up herself?

So I am pleased that someone else has also had the guts to raise these issues but I remain pessimistic that anything will change as a result.

Rather than admit their wrongdoings and culture of arrogance, CYF seems more interested in using an army of lawyers to suppress the truth and the revelations provided by those who have been CYF victims.

Thank God we live in an age when technology is stronger than a bunch of bureaucrats who have utterly failed in their duty of responsibility.

CYF, wake up! Put outcome *ahead* of policy and everyone will be better off.

Even if you were tempted to believe that the people on the CYFWatch blog site are simply whining unreasonably, I trust that regular Aardvark readers will consider my story to be an objective and honest representation of my own family’s experiences with this “out of control” government agency.

I’m not publishing names, registration numbers, addresses or anything but that’s only because I don’t think it would make a single scrap of difference. Although each individual should be held accountable for their actions, the most important thing is (as with the IRD) to get rid of this culture of arrogance and abuse of public money and rights. CYF should remember — it is not *you* who are important, it’s the people you are supposed to serve!

And tomorrow we will return to our normal programme 🙂

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Latest CYFSWATCH Poll Results from TVNZ

TVNZ Poll Question:Do you think the website “naming and shaming” CYF social workers should be taken down?Yes: 17%

No: 83%

Monday, 29 January 2007

Newstalk ZB and Herald On Sunday Columnist Kerre Woodham calls parents and families abused by CYFS “cowards, and vicious, small minded cretins”

Replies to Kerre Wooodham may be addressed to kerre@newstalkzb.co.nz
or the Newstalk ZB Talk back line 0800 80 10 80
Kerre Woodham 8pm – Midnight Monday to Thursday and 9am – Midday Sunday
Letters to: letters@heraldonsunday.co.nz

Kerre Woodham: Close anti-CYF blogsite
Sunday January 28, 2007
By Kerre Woodham

I can’t stand cowards and the CYF Watch blog site is full of them.

This is the blog set up by CYF clients to name and shame social workers they feel have done them wrong.

The internet, a marvellous technological aid to knowledge and understanding, is also made for vicious, small-minded cretins who lack the balls to put their names to their nasty comments and innuendo.

A couple of examples of their posts: Anonymous talks of “a troll of a woman, five foot two in shoes and an ideal Weight Watchers before-model”.

Another Anonymous said: “I know the fat pig. More chins than a Chinese phone book. [If she was in a car crash] I’d piss on her.”

They hide behind banal user names or the more prosaic Anonymous and, free from being held to account, can vent their respective spleens. Many stories have been broken thanks to the net. I guess blogs are the yang to the political spin doctors’ yin.

But the fact that people can tell lies or give biased one-sided versions of complex issues is a real problem.

I’ve got things wrong in the past. As a talkback host and newspaper columnist, I have no doubt I’ve offended, possibly appalled, some people. But you know who I am and where I am. My name and photograph identify me as the author of these (occasionally) half-baked opinions.

Although there appear to be some genuine stories of incompetence and inexplicable bureaucratic intransigence on the blog offered by people willing to put their names to their experiences, most of the nasty little people contributing to the anti-CYF blog aren’t willing to be identified. For that reason, the site should be shut down. Along with any site that doesn’t identify its contributors.

If these malicious, vindictive individuals are as appalling and as poorly educated as their rants indicate, they shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near small children. On first reading, I’m with the social workers.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t genuine issues that could and, indeed, should be raised. Government departments can develop unhealthy cultures – look at the shake-up at the Inland Revenue Department after the suicide of a man who believed he was being hounded by an over-zealous department employee.

If there is a prevailing orthodoxy, as some contributors to the blog allege, that gets in the way of the best result, then that needs to be changed. And given the enormous amounts of money being thrown into running CYF, we could ask whether or not we’re getting value for money from this department.

I’m sure CYF isn’t perfect. I don’t know. I’ve never had any dealings with them. Most of us, thank God, never will. But on a daily basis these social workers are dealing with the mad, the bad and the unbearably sad.

Of course emotions are going to run high if some ghastly cow accuses her husband or partner of abusing the kids during an acrimonious break-up. Or if some poor thing is trying to keep her sanity in the face of too many kids, not enough money, not enough sleep and not enough support. Or if a man thinks that beating his missus is a perfectly acceptable way of modifying her behaviour. Or if there’s an addict in the family.

When these hapless individuals aren’t prepared to take responsibility for the mess they’ve made of their lives, is it any wonder they shoot the messenger? Instead of blaming the social workers for the fact that the girl you chose to have a child with is a P addict, how about asking whether you might be, at least, a co-author of your own misfortunes.

And don’t tell me to get into the real world. The real world is not one where women get beaten up by their men and allow their kids to become collateral damage. The real world is not one where kids are beaten, half-starved and neglected. And the real world is not one where social workers are a part of day-to-day life.

Trying to pretend this aberrant behaviour is normal is only going to give people more excuses for behaving the way they do. Just think for a moment how you would feel being the social worker assigned to the Jayden Headley case. A lying woman with a vendetta against her ex-partner. A father who flatly refuses to walk away from his son, no matter how easy that would make his life. And a damaged 6-year-old who faces an uncertain future. Try making a happy family out of that.

When I criticised the blog on radio this week, I received an instant email from CYF Watch telling me to argue the issues, not sidetrack everyone with ad hominem arguments. In other words, play the ball, not the man. The CYF Watch authors would do well to follow their own advice. By attacking individuals, they’re undermining what may be genuine concerns.

CYFSWATCH Replies:

Some points for Ms Woodham to consider:

* Calling families and parents abused by CYFS “cowards and small minded cretins” in the absence of any research with, or interviews of the disaffected parties regarding the cases, or the issues at hand is secondary abuse, and just a wee bit assumptive.

* Cowards don’t take on the might of CYFS, Crown Law, the Police, and the Ministry of Social Development, knowing that, in all likelihood, the authors of CYFSWATCH will eventually be caught, and will possibly face a raft of alleged legal contraindications that could negatively affect family, business, income, and ultimately freedom. Knowing all of this, CYFSWATCH proceeds anyway. Courage is not the absence of fear: courage is the willingness to do the right thing and to conduct the act of doing the right thing, even when the odds are seriously stacked against you. Cowards need guarantees of success before they act: CYFSWATCH has no such luxury – and nor do we need one.

* In attempting to censure the contributors to CYFSWATCH, Kerre Woodham is essentially saying that people so brutally treated by the state are not allowed to be angry about it; or, that they must only be angry in “appropriate” ways. It would appear that Ms Woodham is a de-facto member of the “thought police” if this is the case.

“Occasionally got it wrong”? CYFSWATCH is struggling to think of a time when Ms Woodham has ever got it right!

* If “unwilling to be identified” is the litmus test Ms Wodham nominates as having CYFSWATCH shut down, then it’s goodbye to Trade Me!

* It would appear that Ms Woodham hasn’t got a clue as to what “ad hominem” means after all.

CYFSWATCH

Monday, 29 January 2007

Herald on Sunday Editor Shane Currie calls parents and families abused by CYFS “inarticulate filth”

Replies to the Herald on Sunday may be addressed to: letters@heraldonsunday.co.nz
Attn: Shane Currie
Herald on Sunday Editorial (P. 42)
Editor: Shane Currie
“Big Blogger is watching – and spewing inarticulate filth”

George Orwell didn’t have it right in his classic – it’s not so much a case of Big Brother hovering over us, as Big Blogger. In this internet age, anyone, anywhere can be transformed into an instant publisher – tapping out their thoughts, ideas, and stream of consciousness in a full strength, defamatory onslaught, and all achieved behind a curtain of anonymity from the comfort of the home or work computer.

Operated the right way, blogsites offer and generate intelligent debate and insight. The likes of Kiwiblog and publicaddress are worthwhile reads, maintained by a dedicated group of talented writers and thinkers. But most bloggers – and we’re talking 95% – are fly-by-night, gutless wonders who prefer to spit inarticulate venom under inarticulate pseudonyms. It is simple for them to launch their writing careers – figures released this week show the blogger.com website is among the 20 most popular sites visited by Kiwis. These bloggers, operating under their own misguided belief of self-freedom, rarely research any offerings and have little knowledge of defamation laws and other publishing restrictions. Journalists, broadcasters, columnists, and politicians are common targets – and this week we’ve seen the boundaries stretched intolerably far.

A new blogsite set up to name and shame Child Youth and Family workers is a disgrace. Working for CYF would be a godforsaken job at the best of times, without having a bunch of cyberspace cowboys on your back. The defamatory claims posted on the site are reckless and untrue – many of the issues have already been investigated through the correct and proper channels, and all we’re left with are the incoherent ramblings and personal attacks of the disaffected. The very fact that CYF had to be involved in these peoples lives in the first place should sound alarm bells. The Ministry of Social Development has tried to convince Google that the site should be removed, but the internet giant has been extraordinarily hopeless. It makes all the right noises about prohibiting defamatory, vulgar, harmful and threatening content – but its blog pages are awash with this very material. It needs to pay more than lip service to this principle.

Online abuse is now rampant in all parts of New Zealand society. Disaffected employees and students can now publicly pull apart their bosses and teachers through specifically designed websites. Police have had to be called in to dismantle claims made on such sites as Bebo. Police were also called in this week when a schoolgirl spat on on the West Coast was thrashed out on several websites set up by the students. Constable Rose Green said bullying was taking on new forms. “Texting is rife and this is one step further. Crikey – it used to be on the toilet wall. It’s gone to texting and now the websites. It’s ridiculous. It’s got out of hand”.

Some of these bloggers need to be reined in, and quickly. The anti-CYF site would have probably disappeared into a cyberspace black hole had it not been for all the publicity. Instead, the site was hit by thousands. It would be refreshing to see a hapless victim take on a blogger in a court of law – and earn themselves a decent payday.

We’ve yet to see a full-on case locally, but when a silly blogger tries to take on the might of a government department, they might find its legal resources are a little deeper than the average social worker. Already Crown Law and police officials are involved in the CYF matter. Companies such as Google might also then start to take their responsibilities a little more seriously, given the liability they would face.

CYFSWATCH Replies:

* In NZ law, the maxim is “innocent until proven guilty”. Mr Currie writes that the material on CYFSWATCH is “defamatory”. Until this allegation is proved one way or the other, it remains simply that – an allegation.

* The Publicaddress website is a poor example of “intelligent debate” – in our experience, the site does not allow people to post comments or provide feedback!

* For Mr Currie to quote “95%” of blogsites as being “fly-by-night”, he would first of all have to know how many blogs there are in existence (an impossible figure to accurately assess), and then source research that nominated a normative standard of what constituted a “worthwhile read”, as opposed to “fly by night” (research that does not exist). Thus, it must be said that Mr Currie is practicing what the advertising industry refers to as “puffery” in his editorial; that’s “bullshit” to you and us.

* If Mr Currie (like Ms Woodham before him) has not investigated the case files nor interviewed the parents and families posting to CYFSWATCH, how is he in a credible position to state “the defamatory claims posted on the site are reckless and untrue – many of the issues have already been investigated through the correct and proper channels”?

* CYFSWATCH has not been “hit by thousands” – we’ve been hit by hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions.

* There were 66,210 notifications to CYFS, of which 49,063 required investigation as at June last year. There are currently 5077 children in CYFS care. So, by Mr Curries reckoning – “Notification” = “Alarm Bells”. How is it then that less than 10% of received notifications forwarded to CYFS resulted in children being placed in state care? Were the other 61,000 families just lucky?.

* If this is an example of how thorough the Editor of the Herald on Sunday is when writing an op-ed piece, what does this say for the level of journalistic talent on show at the Herald on Sunday…………..oh yes, that’s right; Kerre Woodham is a feature columnist 🙂

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

CYFSWATCH Tops Search Queries.

From http://www.freespeech.org.nz

CYFSWatch Frenzy

Ministry of Social Development (of which Child, Youth and Family – CYF – is a part) CEO Peter Hughes’ decision to try and censor the CYFSWatch blog has badly backfired.

As of Friday afternoon, the site is still up and running. Google has so far stood firm – talking to the NZ Herald, Google spokeswoman Victoria Grand said,

We only remove content from a blog if it expressly violates the terms of service or if ordered to do so by a court order.

And public interest is huge. No one would ever have heard of this site if Hughes hadn’t launched his doomed censorship campaign.

As an indicator of how much interest there is in this now, traffic to this blog has more than doubled since I posted on the topic on Wednesday lunchtime. The top ten search queries landing here at the moment are:

1. cyfswatch
2. cyfs blog
3. cyf blog
4. cyf name and shame
5. cyfs watch
6. cyfswatch blog
7. name and shame
8. cyf
9. cyf watch
10. cyfswatch new zealand

and so on into at least the top thirty.

I would refer Hughes to my previous post on Scarcity and ‘psychological reactance’, which pointed out that censorship not only makes people far more interested in the information under threat, but also makes them more inclined to believe it.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Is Google censoring CYFSWATCH news search results on the behest of the NZ Government?

From http://www.whaleoil.co.nz blogsite in “comments” section:

CYFSwatch blog went quiet for five days and now it has magically been updated with a whole lot of weak stories against CYFS that would make a fair minded person dubious and a whole lot of others that would make the case for mocking CYFS unfair.

Most humorous of all is that Google has made a statement on the blog having been exposed that they are filtering the News search results. As it is Google that the Govt has very obviously enlisted to censor news searches (which also went very quite for the past 4 days.)

In Googles spiel they mention all related (15 odd) search terms that are popular except the obvious one CYFS. That returns only the now state run pretend Blog and other well known and would be well missed sites. Like CYFS itself and PANIC.
They make out that attention to CYPS is uncontrollable and healthy.

And all the Sheep of NZ go Baaaah as the wool falls down over their poor eyes.
The steep drop of articles and the now hand picked ones of a clearly highjacked blog are a poor effort at a clever strategy that should have been managed better by the Govt stooges.

CYFSWATCH replies:

The CYFSWATCH site has not been “captured” by anyone (yet), however if Google are indeed filtering out CYFSWATCH in their search engine as a result of being asked to do so by the NZ Labour Government, then freedom of speech in New Zealand just took a huge body blow. What in the hell is happening to our country? And why are most its citizens not standing up against this totalitarian supression and oppression?

BTW, the site was inactive for 4 days owing to the holiday weekend – even CYFSWATCH have families, and need to spend time with them.

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