Faces of Innocents: CYF to be shut down and replaced by a new ministry

James Whakaruru was beaten to death by Ben Haerewa in 1999. His death led to a massive inquiry by the then Commissioner ...
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James Whakaruru was beaten to death by Ben Haerewa in 1999. His death led to a massive inquiry by the then Commissioner for Children which was critical of all the agencies involved in the case and urged them to better interact.

The long and chequered story of Child, Youth and Family will be officially at an end by March 2017, replaced by a new agency. Katie Kenny reports for the Faces of Innocents project

A new Ministry for Vulnerable Children will take over from CYF in April next year.

It's understood a chief executive for the new Government department has already been picked.

"CYF as we know it will no longer exist after March 2017," acting Minister for Social Development Hekia Parata said on Wednesday.

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While "Ministry for Vulnerable Children" is expected to be the new name for the department, this has not been finalised by Cabinet.

However, the transformation programme is well under way with an extra $347 million allocated in the Budget for the care and protection of children and young people.

CYF's name has been subtly changed three times before and it's been restructured at least 14 times since its inception in 1992.

There have been tens of reviews showing the agency's ineffectiveness and it has been associated with dozens of child killings.

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This week, it was revealed the agency had supported the release of a man back into the home of his girlfriend and her children where he is alleged to have then killed a 17-month-old boy.

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Others in the child victim toll who had an association with CYF include: Craig Manukau, Wayne Marshall Kairau-Sandhu, James Whakaruru, Hinewaioriki Karaitiana-Matiaha (Lillybing), Saliel Aplin and Olympia Jetson, Coral Ellen Burrows, Nia Glassie, Hail-Sage McClutchie. 

The latest major revamp of CYF was started after a Children's Commissioner's report released in August last year found the current system was failing those in statutory care.

A subsequent plan for improving care, which was released in April, said there should be "a single point of accountability for vulnerable children".

"A central focus on loving, stable families will deliver a very different experience for children and young people," it said.

Each year, about 60,000 children are notified to the agency and at any point in time about 4900 Kiwi kids are in state care. 

The head of the new ministry is expected to be announced next month.

"While the machinery of government needs to be taken care of, we are determined that we will stay focused on what actually matters for children, and that is a completely new system which keeps them safe and makes vast improvements to their long-term life outcomes," Parata said.

* Comments on this story are now closed.

 - Stuff

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