CYF changes challenged

Dunedin North Labour candidate Dr David Clark has accused Child Youth and Family of cutting jobs and the Government of going against promises.

Dr Clark says 30 jobs will go throughout the organisation and Dunedin will lose two social workers and two supervisors.

"The timing could not be worse as the cost of living and unemployment increase and the pressure on families increases.

Our community, our children, deserve better," he said.

The cuts made a lie of the Government's promise to not cut frontline services.

However, CYF manager of public affairs Bernadine MacKenzie said "there are no staffing cuts to the organisation".

"No cuts are being made. No staff member is losing their job.

There is no restructuring." Staffing had increased over the past two years - from 2786 FTE to 3097, more than 200 of whom worked directly with children, youth and their families - but the organisation "allocates its resources where there is the greatest need".

"As and when opportunities present themselves in terms of vacancies, changes are made. If a staff member leaves, the region looks at whether the workload requires that position to be filled.

"Otago and Southland have had more social workers per caseload and demand than the rest of New Zealand.

"If and when vacancies occur, consideration will be given to moving those positions to where they are needed most. All decisions are made on the basis of meeting the need to protect children and young people at risk," she said.

The Public Services Association, which has more than 200 CYF staff members in Otago and Southland, was aware of the issues and is working with members, management and the Ministry of Social Development to address concerns.


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