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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Father regrets going to service

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

A South Wairarapa man who repeatedly asked the Ministry for Vulnerable Children for help with his daughter, regrets ever going to the service after she was taken out of his custody four weeks ago.

The man, not named to protect his daughter’s privacy, said the removal of his eight-year-old did not install any confidence in the system.

“All we ever wanted was some help, and all they have done is destroyed everything we are trying to work towards,” he said.

“It makes me feel like that if there are any problems I dread going to somewhere like CYF now.”

His daughter had spoken of her suicidal thoughts to her separated parents, who went to the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, formerly Child, Youth and Family (CYF), for help.

Instead they were just “fobbed off”, with the recent quick turn-over of social workers at the Masterton office resulting in a lack of understanding of their case, the father said.

The father and his ex-partner, who had shared custody of their daughter since mid-2014, first went to CYF in 2012 for help on how to deal with their daughter’s behavioural and psychological issues.

Meetings with their case workers had decided communication between the separated parents needed to improve for their daughters’ sake.

But since then, communication had been “awesome”, the man said.

Then in March, the family attended a Family Group Conference (FGC) with a social worker who had been brought into the region to help ease the work load at the Masterton office.

The social worker, who had managed their case for about two months, told the family the father had breached an agreement due to a police callout to his property.

She decided their daughter would live with her mother in Masterton, and her father was allowed a one-hour supervised visit a week.

The man said his daughter was taken from his care about six weeks after the FGC.

“The thing that I don’t get, that if it was such a big deal, why wasn’t it done straight away — why has it taken over six weeks.”

The change in social workers has resulted in information being taken out of context, he said.

The parents were stripped of shared custody of their daughter, and were assigned a new social worker last week, but still haven’t been told how they can re-gain custody.

However, the daughter is still living with her mother – the outcome of not having found a temporary home for her, the father said.

The ministry’s regional manager Grant Bennett said efforts to support the parents had been challenging.

Child, Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) had been involved and “would agree the primary consideration at this time is the safety and consistency of a stable home”, he said.

Mr Bennett also said, while they would continue to work with the family, “ultimately we need to be sure the best interests of the child are at the forefront of any decisions”.

Earlier this year, social worker numbers in Wairarapa saw a dramatic drop to only eight staff, prompting the call for more social workers and managers to come from around the country to help manage the load at the Masterton office.

Mr Bennett said since October 2016, resignations saw a drop of four social workers in five months up until March this year.

In February, a ministry spokesperson told the Times-Age there were 10 social work staff at the Masterton office, with three vacancies.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Noone and I mean no one should involve Cyfs or MOVC in their lives. Many Social Workers lie, falsify information and ensure children are left or put at risk. Moat disgraceful organisation out there! So many stories like this of people going to CYFs for help, only to hVe them wreck havoc and run rough shot over families lives.

  2. Just because the name CYF’s has changed, doesn’t mean that anything else has changed.

    I will continue to call them CYF’s, not because of the name change, but because they still don’t provide the required help that CHILDREN AND PARENTS need!

    We received a letter from them a few weeks ago regarding an incident that wasn’t raised by either parents but from and outside person. CYF’s Manager whom I won’t mention, has the audacity to write to me expressing that I was the problem and threatened me with removal of my children.

    I will be taking this matter along with a few others, to someone higher. This is disgusting and should not been allowed to happen.

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