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Ministry releases statement on Masterton CYF

29 March 2017.

Please attribute the following to Child, Youth and Family Deputy Chief Executive Murray Edridge.

Child, Youth and Family accepts Judge Grace’s decision in this case, which is to leave these children in the care of their current caregivers while a long-term placement is confirmed.

Our focus now is on ensuring that, through the court, and in cooperation with the family, caregivers and lawyers, we put together a plan that will produce a positive outcome for the children.

I share Judge Grace’s frustrations with Child, Youth and Family’s handling of this case.

I acknowledge that we should have handled this case better in focusing on what needed to happen through the courts to look after the best interests of the children.

Since the judgment in this matter was issued last month we have met with parties to discuss how we are addressing issues raised in the judgment. We will continue these discussions, including with legal counsel.

Changes in the Wairarapa region

Judge Grace’s criticisms in this case point to wider issues that we have identified around how Child, Youth and Family has been discharging its responsibilities in the Wairarapa, in particular to the Family Court.

I am disappointed that we have not met the standards that the court, lawyers, caregivers and young people have a right to expect.

We are taking significant steps to ensure a substantial improvement in our performance in the Wairarapa, both in terms of court proceedings and more widely.

Child, Youth and Family staff in the Wairarapa region are working with Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki to ensure we get the urgent, robust changes that are needed and that there is a smooth transition to the new Ministry on 1 April.

We already have support personnel in place who are meeting with key stakeholders, including judges and lawyers, to ensure we get it right.

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