Significant Support for Independent Watchdog for CYF – Poll

Media Release 29 March 2011
A poll has found significant support for an independent watchdog for Child Youth and Family (CYF), and Family First NZ believes that politicians will know from anecdotal evidence that a watchdog is warranted. 

In the poll of 1,000 people undertaken by Curia Market Research this month, respondents were asked Do you think the Government should establish an independent Complaints Authority similar to the Independent Police Complaints Authority to hear complaints about Child Youth and Family (CYF) from families who feel they have been unfairly treated by Child Youth and Family?” 

65% said yes, 20% said no, and the remainder (14%) were either unsure or refused to answer. Interestingly, younger respondents were most supportive of an independent complaints authority – possibly because they were either young parents or potential parents. Male and female support was evenly split. 

“Family First is being regularly contacted by families who claim to have been unfairly treated by CYF social workers – yet they have no independent body to appeal to,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Their only option is a costly court process where CYF 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 based on the subjective judgment of a social worker.” 

“Social workers should not feel threatened by this poll. An independent watchdog is in the best interests of social workers as it will provide an independent body to ensure that appropriate policy and procedures have been followed. This will result in public confidence in their important work and accountability for actions and decisions.” 

“There is a Health and Disability Commissioner, a Police Complaints Authority, even a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal. We desperately need an independent body to hear complaints about the highly sensitive nature of intervening in families,” says Mr McCoskrie. 

“The Advisory Panel adopted by the Ministry of Social Development in 2008 is not well known due to minimal public awareness, and has the inherent flaw of not being independent.” 

Family First is calling on politicians, the majority who will have received anecdotal evidence of claims of unfair treatment by CYF, to support the urgent establishment of an independent CYF Complaint Authority. 

The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.2%


10 comments for “Significant Support for Independent Watchdog for CYF – Poll

  1. 29 March 2011 at 1:46 pm

    It’s now called The Independent Police Conduct Authority.

    But this is nonetheless an excellent idea.

  2. 29 March 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Actually Bob, the families contacting you do have someone to turn to. I sat with one such family today and CYF. Tomorrow I will sit with Pediatricians because CYF want me to understand ‘expert opinion’. It’s a very early meeting and I’ll be up at 6am to attend.

    I’ve already said I will not be agreeing when warranted but I will listen.

    I am pleased you’ve decided to join in this, but I dare say your name shouldn’t be leading it for the fact you let parents down. I get that political people have to care for their political stand but I hate that we war between ideologies when the 1,000’s of parents and their 1,000s of children suffer.

    I want to see barristers funded, barristers donating time not groups of people using others to promote divide and conquer. I had no idea left wing and right wing was behind so much misery. Maybe that’s what men and women, young and old should be taught in all things they do when they ask for help.

  3. Bob
    29 March 2011 at 11:54 pm

    what do you mean by
    “I dare say your name shouldn’t be leading it for the fact you let parents down.”??????

  4. 30 March 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Bob, I have allot of respect for you because you dare to speak out. You are a wonderful person, IMO.

    Yet the people who don’t like you never comment about people, only ideology. They couldn’t care who they harm,…. in fact I have never seen them use the word woman, man, or child. They just comment about right wing, left wing, feminism, socialism, religion.

    This issues is soooooooo, sooooooo important and it’s about real life people. I am afraid your support will bring enemies who don’t care about people but ideology.

    That’s why you can’t help people, that’s why I think you’ll let innocent people down. It’s not you, it’s the people who don’t like you.

  5. Bob
    31 March 2011 at 2:06 am

    Name someone or a group who has raised the profile of this issue

    Even the Social Workers Registration Board is getting nervous

    We’ll agree to disagree on this one Julie. Because up until now, nothing has been happening to change the status quo. And as a result, good families are suffering and being victimised.

  6. 31 March 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Bob, we don’t need to disagree on this so I can’t agree to disagree. Please let me think about this and take it to other groups including Maori and Pacific Island, Chinese, Muslim etc.

    In the meantime, if single parent families (including families needing support for parent relationships as 2 parents) contact you, can you please direct them the Auckland Single Parent’s Trust. If I can bring Birthright into this also, I will be able to refer clients on other areas on.

    I do hope you can help politically.

  7. Jason
    31 March 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Hi Julie,
    Who is the independent complaint specific organization that families can lay complaints against CYFs to? Laying complaints is free of charge is it not?

  8. Jason
    31 March 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Is CYFs a part of the police force?

  9. Bob
    1 April 2011 at 12:37 am

    That’s the problem Jason. People simply don’t know how or where to complain, and CYF have done little to promote it.

    But the real issue is its lack of independence. The police have a completely independent body to examine complaints. So should CYF

    The Social Worker Registration Board say they can do it, but they’re not independent, they focus on the worker not the CYF process, and less than half of CYF social workers are even registered!!!

  10. 1 April 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Jason, there isn’t one. I am not as good as you, I guess. All I can say is OK, go for it.

Comments are closed.