Sunday, May 2, 2010

Office of the Children’s Commission (OCC) New Zealand

I would like the Office of the Children’s Commission (OCC) New Zealand to answer the outstanding issues the then Children’s Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro created. The Current Children's Commissioner Mr John Angus, seem unwilling to respond and explain things,for which the document below will explain, that I emailed them.

Thank-you, for the acknowledgment to my more recent emails.

There was in fact a third email sent quite a few months ago in the same vain as the two you just acknowledged let alone had the issues within it addressed. My hope is that I will within a reasonable timeframe receive a response to the issues I have raised and that the long awaited acknowledgment will not be the end of it. Just to make a point clear I have spoken to some of my fellow protesters who will join me outside your offices if I get a lacklustre response or none.

It seems to me that the Office of the Children’s Commission (OCC) stifled all calls for an independent complaints Authority by suggesting it was it. I have never managed to get a straight answer from the Children’s Commission if they still believe this to be so as from that media statement as a result many people are under the false illusion you can hold Child, Youth and Family accountable.

Even members of parliament refer people to the OCC after this statement was made:

Children’s Commissioner has role in monitoring CYF
Thursday, 8 February 2007, 10:07 am
Press Release: Commissioner For Children

Media Release8 February 2007
Children’s Commissioner has role in monitoring Child, Youth & Family

Children’s Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro, has reacted to recent calls for the set-up of an independent complaints authority to monitor the activities of Child, Youth and Family (CYF) by pointing out that the Children’s Commisioner’s Act 2003 already provides the Children’s Commissioner with certain functions in relation to monitoring Child, Youth and Family Services (CYF) and other persons, bodies and organisations exercising any function or power conferred by the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989.
“As Children’s Commissioner, I am an Independent Crown Entity with powers to investigate any decision ...
www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0702/S00084.htm

If the OCC seems confused about what it can or can’t do then how is any member of the public meant to get their head around it. I believe that a few people besides me have written to your office asking about your role and functions and unable to decipher the response as it’s not in easy to understand plain English that a member of the public can grasp. Waffling with the regurgitation of nonsensical peripheral waffle about the Act is not a clear response.
It also makes me question if the Children's Commissioner is unsure or unwilling to explain.
Thinking the OCC could help with CYF complaints the Children's Commissioner hired a new staff member to do nothing but deal with complaints about Child, Youth and Family.
It was also stated “At the social services select committee yesterday, Dr Cindy Kiro said the commission got about 400 inquiries a year about CYFS… or more as it went on to state further in the article, Published 5:00 AM Thursday Feb 22, 2007
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10425174

I know for a fact that families have contacted the Office of the Children’s Commission for help about children in CYF care and you have been unable to do so, which means they are unlikely to come back to the OCC, or refer others to you because of this. In theory the OCC should receive fewer complaints about CYF owing to this dilemma. The ironic thing is the OCC might now get the impression things at CYF have improved because you get fewer complaints coming to you about them.
What that means is there is no hope for Children and the families CYF rip apart and get separated, often to the detriment to all concerned; it’s a no win situation at a traumatic time for all and adds more stresses on top of what has already happened.

I believe Children/Youth are not an island, they need their families like, other siblings both parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins etc…( provided this is safe ) so many children seemed to be unnecessarily forced apart by an intervention and lose that connection with most of their family who like them are innocent parties in all this.
One child asked why they were being locked up like in a prison at the family home and given visiting times, like a criminal when they are the victim.

I fail to see how the OCC can find any of the aforementioned issues acceptable, allow it to continue and do very little if anything to try and resolve these situations as I have explained... To me allowing this to go on is like supporting systemic child abuse and punishing the victim again.

It is bad enough the OCC could not help in these circumstances but to give people the false hope you could in those types of cases as I have explained them, in my view was very cruel and unhelpful.
At long last the reality of what the OCC involvement could extend to was made public with the headlines “Swell of support for CYF complaints authority Monday, 21 August 2006, 2:24 pmPress Release: United Future NZ Party
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0608/S00348.htm

“The Commission accepted that they did not have the power to investigate many areas regarding CYF complaints, as their mandate only pertains to the welfare of children.
“Any complaint from parents regarding their maltreatment or perceived abuse or other failure of CYF is completely out of the hands of the Children’s Commissioner,” says Mrs Turner….
"The Children’s Commission have publicly admitted that they do not have the resources to investigate all the complaints, instead “looking into matters where we have some common themes coming through”
I have not heard the OCC retract that statement by , Dr Cindy Kiro as it was in fact United Future NZ Party that in my view put things right for the record. However as much as I respect Mrs Turner, she does not speak for the OCC, you might totally disagree with what the United Future NZ Party spokesperson said and I for one would not mind knowing he OCC position on this.

Even after all this the OCC still stayed silent and from what I am aware never supported the call for an independent CYF complaints authority then or now. I would think a independent CYF complaints authority would be in the best interests of the children you are meant to advocate for.
Even if it was unintentional at the end of the day the OCC helped sabotaged the chances for a truly independent CYF complaints authority by not throwing their voice behind the calls for one, and accepting it is needed. I fail to see how that in any way helped Children and might I suggest hindered them instead. You are meant to advocate for children and you failed to do that on this issue then or now it seems.

For your information the current Chief Executive advisory panel can only be asked by the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to look into things at CYF. No member of the public can approach them, nor can they off their own back look into complaints. They are controlled by and answerable to the MSD who run CYF only.

To spite the fact the minister of the time said “ “the arguments have proven an independent authority has merit “
Published: 12:44PM Friday February 16, 2007, Source: Newstalk ZB
http://tvnz.co.nz/content/992076

It was alleged the CEO of the MSD threaded to quit if an independent complaints authority happened as CYF was such an unwanted burden having to be merged back within the MSD as they could not find a standalone CEO for CYF. Even other parliamentarians hinted at the problem unbeknown,

“I don't know what they will do when the current Chief Executive, Peter Hughes, resigns from MSD; perhaps merge MSD/CYF and the Ministry of Health?” ... 30-April-2006,
http://www.judithcollins.co.nz/speeches.asp?Ref=MakingWelfareReformWork%20&Year=2006

I think Family first NZ Media release best sums things under the heading “CYF Complaints Authority Fails Miserably “on Thursday, 12 March 2009, 2:20 pm

“The Advisory Panel being adopted by the Ministry of Social Development has the inherent flaw of not being independent, and the Chief Executive still has the final decision as to the success of the complaint. This is unacceptable.”
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0903/S00139.htm

The current Chief Executive Advisory Panel was doomed from the beginning and will forever be so while the MSD run it.
Now what I am hoping is the OCC will call for an independent complaints Authority and in the words of family first
"There is a Health and Disability Commissioner, a Police Complaints Authority, even a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal. We desperately need an independent body to hear complaints about the highly sensitive nature of intervening in families." And yes I agree Bob,it would be in “the best interests of the social workers “ and familes.
I do realise the OCC is under resourced and more then likely you do not have the jurisdiction over CYF to address many complaints, we can’t hold the OCC responsible for these factors. However what I will hope the OCC might do as call for a truly independent complaints Authority for CYF, which you might very well end up being closely involved with along with the Families commission and others.
I would hope the OCC would not see a truly independent complaints Authority for CYF, as a turf war but rather complementary, for the sake of our children and families.

Mr John Angus, Children's Commissioner I hope you will take the time to consider all I have said and offer your views in response.
I will of course write to the Governor-General, Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, who I believe appointed, you to your position if you attempt to fog me off followed by a protest outside you office calling for your resignation or to be replaced. After all I am asking is that you do the job you are appointed to do.

I would also like to point out there is in fact not one place people can go to that can hold CYF accountable, like the OCC they all have their limitations including the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW), Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) and so on. I can prove this if you want to download the read the evidence from here
http://graemea.snap.net.nz/document-downloads.html to date no one has been able to unequivocally dispute my research or findings to date.

Now. Given my disability and need for reasonable accommodation could you please respond via email with highlight-able text.
I do what to make it clear I reserve the right to publish this and your response should any be forthcoming.

It’s interesting that the Hon Paul Bennett questions the worth of the Families Commission, yet they have very little power if any when compared to that of the Children’s Commission. Yes Paula I do agree the families Commission research could be done better.
While the OCC has done some good things they could do far better with the power and voice they did have.
Maybe the Families Commission, could get a response from the OCC. Someone at some point has to speak out I believe or our children/youth and families will go on being destroyed while we wait….

Cheers
Graeme Axford

My Webpage http://graemea.snap.net.nz/

25 comments:

  1. You re 100% right, they are not help at all

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  2. Hi Graham, I can't remember the Children's Commission doing anything of any use to date? Apart from the fact they supported Sue Bradford’s Anti-Smacking Bill. How about they come onboard with this systemic child abuse issues, it seems ok for the sate to abuse your kids and for them to tell you what you can or can’t do with them, but the state does not answer to anyone in return…

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  3. The Children’s’ Commissions, Commissions and sanctions state abuse against Children by not helping or attempting to address the problems. You are right it is systemic abuse that has gone on for long enough. Me and my brother were put into care and cut off from each other and the rest of our family. I am now 18 and do not at all support what this system does to families. The family court aided CYF doing this with all the BS they come up with, OMG can they lay it on thick. The Children’s’ Commissions said because our case was before the court they could not get involved. HELLO all cases end up before the court you bunch of F**king d***heads, then put the phone down. We got a shit lawyer( for the child) each that did not help us… The problem started with CYF and they should be the first thing that get sorted out. Judges believe what CYF say thinking they are impartial and have the best interests of the child, above anyone else. CYF load the gun and the judges pull the trigger. You can’t blame the judges if the information they are fed is wrong and they then make a ruling on that. WISE UP PEOPLE… Protesting against judges will not change that fact. Now I am older if I heard what CYF said and believed I would make the same decision as the judge at that time. Therefore the fault lies entirely with CYF in my view and other kids that end up in their so called care of CYF think the same I have talked to. I will join you protesting outside their office in Wellington if I can make it… I doubt you will ever get a response from them…

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  4. The real issue is that Commissioner does not have the authority or power to enforce those necessary changes within the standard operating procedures of Any Agency, be that CYF or any other that offers care to Children.

    While in relation to Child Youth and Family the Commissioners are powers are all restricted to Review and Recommendation.

    There is no authority or power to Enforce changes when they are clearly needed.

    That is why we need to either, Empower and Existing Agency to be able to do this, or Institute an Independent Complaints Authority with the oversight of CYF and the Power and Authority to enforce change when necessary.

    Cheers,
    nzMalcolmite.

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  5. For a fuller account of this Authority and Empowerment issue see Graeme's web page,

    http://www.graemea.snap.net.nz/authorityneeded/childrenscommissioner.html

    nzMalcolmite

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  6. I can tell you now CYF are a law unto themselves still and I am sure they enjoy that freedom.

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  7. yip they are useless alright

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  8. I rang them for help and they said becuse my case was before the court they could not help, it took 9 months to get to the family court then I got the kids returned by the judge, where they have been ever since. That;s 9-months I am my family lost out on and can never get back. Thanks Children's Comssion. Now my kids have an attachment diorder and fear of being taken. Whats the point of having a Children's Comssion that plays dumb and powerless like this one does.

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  9. They always have an excuse or reason for not helping with CYF issues... what a waste of space time and money they are, for what little they do.

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  10. Your webpage and blog have been far more use and help the the Childrens commission could ever be from what I have heard from people needing help with CYF issues. Thankyou so much for all the work and information you have put up. Please keep it up.

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  11. Graeme Axford has helped far more people then the OCC has with all the information he has put out there, I say put Graeme in as the children’s Commissioner, after all he has been a better advocate for children then them. Thank you Graeme for all the work and information you put out there for people to see. Your webpage and Blogs, Videos have helped me get to grips with things and I think by now CYF would no you have been well trained and up with the play LOL. If they had a brain they would employ you NOW. But luckily for us they aren’t that smart lol

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  12. They told me as my case was before they court they could not help, get a lawyer.
    WTF if I could get a lawyer I would U dumbasses and in the mean time my child suffer without family contact. The OCC are a total waste of time and money as others have said. I did get my child back after I found a lawyer over two years later. That’s right it took me one and a half years to find a lawyer then the legal aide stuffed him around. If the OCC speaks out for the rights of kids why don't they address these issues as part of the overall picture? I agree with Graham a child is not an island. He helped me more the OCC did or could of they should fund him via a contract as he will and does do what they can’t and get paid to do, NOTHING. If Graham had half you government funded resources things would be put in place pretty quickly I would think. I agree with others thank God for your webpage and blogs, I would have been lost without them.

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  13. If you email them they take so long to reply, that's if they bother to. They are a real letdown in my view.

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  14. Because my case was before the court they would not even listen to what I had to say or wanted to ask. Who checks up on the Children’s Commissions to see if they are doing their job? The feedback on this blog is only the tip of the iceberg I would think.
    The Children’s Commissions does little if anything to help people in the real world, and get paid and away with it.

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  15. i agree what good have has the OCC done?

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  16. I would not get a straight answer from the commission when I needed help, I will not go back to them again and I tell other people not to bother. it seems pages and people like you are the only hope we have. Keep up the good fight and stick it to the Beep-beeping useless, self-promoting, self-righteous no good for nothing. Apart from a talkfest, politically correct, don’t rock the boat looking do-gooders, which do nothing apart from believe they can and do good, to justify their existence.

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  17. They did not help keep our child safe when CYF put her in an unsafe home while they tried to sort things out. We got her back but more damaged then when she went away. Thanks Children’s Commission. YOU SUCK BIGTIME

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  18. They are useless waste of time in that office

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  19. I asked the OCC for help with a CYFs issues, they told me to put the problem to CYFs, which I had already done and unable to resolve. It’s like WTF if CYFs and I could sort it out I would not have come to the OCC in the first place. So what’s the point of the OCC if they can’t help resolve child safety concerns that involve CYFs? Can they not see why people have no respect of the OCC, OWG what a bunch of beeps beeps and so on… excuse my langrage. CYFs should be called Child Your F**Ked Serves instead of Child, Youth and Family Services LOL.

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  20. Well its already been said, the range of excuses the OCC uses, so I can't add anything apart from the fact I agree 100% they are a totaly waste of time and money for the little if anything they claim to do.... Yes again CYF are in the Media and the OCC says nothing, are they bedfellows? or lackeys. shame on the OCC for doing little to help out kids in CYF care. I hope they sleep well at night knowing they could, try and stop abuse within the CYF system from happening...

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  21. They told me to go to CYF, if I could sort things out with them I would not be looking elsewhere for help, You F**king beep beeps. You are no help at all...

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  22. They sent me back to CYFS to sort out issues I had with them, If CYFS and my family could of sorted them out in the first place I would not need to look elsewhere for help. The CYFS complaint system whitewashes everything as they have always done. So I fail to see how the Children’s Commission has in any way improved things other then on paper, in practice and reality CYFS do the same old-same old stuff and get away with it. It seems to me the Children’s Commission and CYF are good bedfellows and the Children’s Commission have not done anywhere near enough to try and address the problems people face under the Act when dealing with CYFS. The Children’s Commission are CYFS lackeys in my view. To not want a truly independent complaints system to safeguard the public & CYFS really shows the Children’s Commission hand, no matter what excuse they give us you can never have to many safeguards for our children and families, especially given the ongoing public outcry and mistakes CYFS keep on creating. I agree with what Graham said in facebook, the Minister of Social Development will never recommend anyone to be appointed that will show up their department for what it is, and make them look bad and work harder to clean it up. The Minister can stack the deck in their favour at the expense of our children and families, shame on them. Go Graham people do follow what you are doing….

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  23. Don't even get me started this Commission should renamed the Children’s Permission for CYF to do as they want and get rubber stamped by the Children Commission to get away with it. If the Children Commission did keep an eye on how CYF do things under the Act, why have they not been more outspoken when things go wrong…. The OCC is totally useless and all your letters and respones I have read to and from them prove this.

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  24. They are useless totally no help at all, told me to talk with CYF, who are the problem... then as its before they court, can't help excuses, excuses amd more BS....

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  25. I am thank full to you for this article... And appreciate your daring and willing to speak about social issues... Well the agencies of childs right protection must be efficient in each country

    Jobs in New Zealand

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