Ex police commissioner to head CYF inquiry

Former Police Commissioner Howard Broad has been chosen to lead a new independent inquiry into Child, Youth and Family's complaints process.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett made the announcement at Rotorua today, in the first of a series of talks on the newly-released White Paper to address child abuse and neglect.

Mrs Bennett said the review would look at whether complaints regarding cases - which are currently handled by Child, Youth and Family - could be handled independently outside of the agency.

She told a public meeting she was "concerned enough" about the process to order the review and was keen to get "the right advice" on whether it should be changed.

"I am confident Mr Broad will bring all of his skill and experience to bear when undertaking this independent review and I look forward to his findings."

The review will get underway immediately and will be completed by the end of next year.

Rotorua has meanwhile been chosen to trial the first Children's Team, an initiative set out under the White Paper.

These regional teams would include a lead professional who has responsibility for the plan, to make sure it stays on track and the child accesses the services they need.

"These teams will in most cases be acting before children have suffered serious abuse, so we can get ahead of the problem," Mrs Bennett said.

"We have chosen Rotorua as one of the two first sites to trial these teams because it is an area that would benefit from this joined-up approach."

In the year to April there were 4683 notifications of concern about children in Rotorua and 529 substantiated cases of abuse.

"We won't be replicating any of the good work that is already happening on the ground, instead we will integrate the best of what works and provide a common framework to follow."

- Jamie Morton of the New Zealand Herald

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