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

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on February 23, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH New Zealand

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

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.

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