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Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on February 18, 2007

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Post from

Parents Against Negative Intervention by CYFS
PO Box 7071 Palmerston North

Director: Phone 06 357 7402 or 021 969 008
Email: jktonson@xtra.
Website: nz


Breakthrough website causes impact:

The cyfswatch website with its exposure by name of social workers and lawyers is a welcome breath of fresh air. The debate in the media over this website is bringing, much more than ever before, a prominent exposure of the damage CYFS is causing to children and families. So far some 83 stories targeting particular social workers and the Department in general have been posted on the blog – which can be found at: http://www.cyfswatch. blogspot. com These stories graphically support the belief of PANIC that many families have been unnecessarily torn apart and that both children and parents suffer terribly from familial dislocation and amputation.

The vowed attempts by CYFS to bring down cyfswatch are evidence that this organisation is not willing to face up to the truth and greater scrutiny brought by this website. A more public campaign is warranted as the Department and its social workers are generally not accountable for the wrong decisions they make. While the Family Court is a place of appeal, social workers are mostly not held accountable and action to right wrongs needs to be taken much sooner than the Court process affords. Also the contention by the Social Workers Registration Board that its “robust complaints process” provides a means of ensuring greater accountability has yet to be substantiated as to date there have been no sanctions against social workers.

The website has been criticised for being very negative and intimidating. However the victims of CYFS oppressive behaviour are telling it like it is which is just what is needed. Further the exposure of social workers by name will put pressure on them to admit their faults and change their ways if that was possible! Certainly some comments on social workers are inappropriate and some language is crude but overall the posted stories are a tragic expression of CYFS perpetrated injustice.

The summary of CYFS’s abuse of power at the head of the website is well put:

The power to seize children without requiring evidence (that is, documented evidence as opposed to hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations) .

The power to prevent parents’ access to their children without sufficient grounds. (Often used to punish parents for their efforts to obtain accountability and fair play from social workers)

The protection of the Ministry of Social development to act negligently without impunity.

Family Court denies access between Jayden and his mother:

The papers revealed today that there had been a custody and access battle between Jayden’s parents for several years as his mother sought to deny access by the father and the conflict culminated in the kidnapping of Jayden by maternal grandfather Dick Headley. The Family Court has punished Jayden’s mother by denying access to him. In the long run is this in Jayden’s best interests? Jayden has a right to good access to his mother as well as his father so to deny access for the long-term would be wrong! It would be ironic if the Court denied Jayden access to his mother in similar fashion that his mother continually denied access to his father.

Update on s.59 legislation in Parliament:

The proposed new section 59 specifically prohibits only one motivation for the use of reasonable force with children: correction. In contrast, the old Section 59 allowed only one motivation for the use of reasonable force: correction. According to Family Integrity, “Bradford has come clean at last – she wants to prohibit parents from correcting their own children,” perhaps in the misguided belief that reasonable discipline is a form of abuse.

The proposed new bill allows reasonable force to be used in four areas:

) preventing harm to the child;
) preventing the child from engaging in criminal behaviour;
) preventing the child from engaging in offensive or disruptive behaviour; and
) performing normal daily tasks incidental to good care and parenting.

As Family Integrity says the proposed bill is hopelessly contradictory and introduces a large number of words and concepts without defining them.

Timetable: it appears that the first time parliament will address this Bill and conduct the second reading (the main one for debate) will be on Wednesday 20 February or possible into March.

Urgent need: for us all to be writing/visiting/ phoning our MPs to tell them we are totally opposed to the repeal or amendment of Section 59. Ask them to leave Section 59 just as it is and to simply dump Bradford’s bill as it will be very damaging to families.

Key statistics drawn from a posting on PANIC’S forum (From NZPA/The Press):

About 500 children in foster care have been shunted between families more than eight times during their average two years in care.

Of the 5095 foster children in June last year, 10 per cent had experienced “serious instability of placement while in care.

Only 15 per cent of children entering care still remained under CYF care five years later, while 45 percent had returned to their parents, 15 per cent to wider family and 11 percent had moved to independence.

30 per cent of children investigated by CYF were ‘confirmed” as being abused or neglected within the following two years.

A third of the children in care had been in care for three or more years and the average time from entering care to getting a permanent home was 18 months.

The number of CYF notifications had roughly tripled over the five years from July 2001, from 2000 a month, to June 2006 – 6000 a month.

48 percent of the increase of notifications was from police responding to incidents of family violence where children were present. 23 per cent of all notifications of the 2005 total were police violence reports. Health and education sector notifications made up 10.3 per cent and 9.8 per cent.

Positive recommendations by CYF Minister Ruth Dyson include CYF putting more money into supporting families to prevent children being taken into care.

The Government also wants a comprehensive assessment of the health, education and psychological conditions of all children and young people entering care (more money for those on the gravy train!).

Need for support workers and members:

PANIC needs more support workers, especially in Auckland, where we are rather thin on the ground. However our ability to help parents seeking support and information will be enhanced with more support workers around the country. If you are interested in becoming a support worker, please email me and I will send you an application form, details of responsibilities and support information.

If you are not a member we encourage you to become one and feel more involved in and supported by the organisation. A membership form is on the website.

John Tonson National Director


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