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CYF Teenager dies in care.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 12, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

CYF Teenager dies in care.
Monday, 09.04.2007, 04:50pm (GMT12)

CYF Teenager dies in care.

Cartherine Woulfe

The Wellington Coroner is investigating the death of a boy in mysterious circumstances while in the care of Child, Youth and Family.

CYF last week confirmed the death in a Wellington Family Home in mid 2005, but would not comment further.

“Because the Corner has yet to determine the cause of death it would be completely inappropriate for CYF to comment….the Office of the Cheif Social Worker is currently reviewing this case”.

However, two teachers and a social worker who worked with the boy before his death have alleged to the Herald on Sunday that the boy was left to hang by two other boys during a deadly game.

The sources said the boys were taking turns to masturbate while hanging from a noose. As each boy lost consciousness, the others would cut him down. But when the third boy passed out, he was left hanging.

CYF said the information it held was “not consistent” with the allegations.

Meanwhile, another boy was raped by his housemate in a Youthlink Family Trust Home.

Youthlink is contracted by CYF to look after children.

CYF confirms that a boy was placed in an Auckland Youthlink home despite a history of sexual offending – and sexually assaulted a fellow resident.

CYF said it did not know of the boy’s history until he had already been at the home for a year. When it found out, it told Youthlink and said the boy should be supervised.

The rape is understood to have taken place at the Atwell Youthlink home in 2003.

The victim was aged about 14 and was raped by a boy aged about 16, who used a television remote control to abuse him.

The older boy is understood to have had severe anger problems. The Herald on Sunday understands the victims change in behaviour triggered the investigation.

CYF said: “On being notified of the sexual assault on a fellow resident, the police investigated and substantiated the sexual assault. The perpetrator was convicted and sentenced to a four-year custodial sentence”.

Tara Remington, former deputy principal of Felix Donnelly College which teaches children in care and has taught the two boys concerned, said social workers deliberately keep details of “predator-type” behaviour OFF teenagers files so that they can be placed in residential care.

Remington. deputy principal for four years, left halfway through last year.

She was on the interview panel for accepting students and said some CYF staff “definitely” left details of sex offences out.

“Because of the need for placement. and because of the lack of appropriate places for some kids, social workers didn’t reveal the whole picture”.

Remington said it was “quite possible” that CYF chose not to tell staff of the boy’s history of sexual offending, because he might not have been accepted. “That’s what’s happened with other students, you know, it’s only come out later on”.

CYF rejected that claim.

“Our records show the information was shared with Youthlink as soon as it became known to CYF and that they were told that the young person needed to be fully supervised around other children while in their care.”

However, the three former Felix Donnelly teachers spoken to by the Herald on Sunday last week said space was so tight in Youthlink homes that even when CYF did warn staff that a teenager was showing signs od sexual deviancy or predatory behaviour, they sometimes ended up sharing bedrooms with others.

There were also lapses in the supervision of dangerous children, Remington said.

She said the relationship between CYF and Youthlink could be difficult.

“It’s a timebomb, sometimes. When it works it’s fantastic, and when ity fails, it fails spectacularly.”

CYF said it investigated Youthlink over the sexual assault, as well as over “other issues with staff care and some of their systems.” Youthlink addressed the problems, and CYF said the trust was now professional and well-run, and provided safe care to the children there.

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