80 new social workers

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 11:23 17/07/2014

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More than 80 new Child, Youth and Family social workers are to be recruited, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says.

The move comes after a review found CYF staff lacked the time or resources to manage their caseloads properly.

Bennett said the move would alleviate the pressure on frontline staff and allow the Ministry of Social Development to implement some of the report's recommendations.

These included reducing "unreasonably high" caseloads and administrative workloads to help social workers spend more time with children and their families.

The report found that up to half of a social worker's time was spent dealing with administrative tasks. Many areas struggled to cover for absent or seconded social workers.

"Increasing staff numbers isn't the only answer, but it's a significant start," Bennett said.

Child, Youth and Family notifications had increased sixfold over the past six years and social workers had struggled to keep up.

The newly appointed social workers would be allocated to the areas with the highest workloads and caseloads.

The additional staff – including 47 care and protection social workers, 12 supervisors and 26 assistants – will come at a cost of an extra $5.9 million a year. It will take the number of frontline staff at Child, Youth and Family to nearly 1400.

The ministry would also increase the number of Children's Teams, which would target and work with children and families before they reached the point where Child, Youth and Family became involved.

Other initiatives such as legislation to make chief executives of government departments, such as health and education, accountable for children's wellbeing were also before Parliament.

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