Monday, March 2, 2009

Thank you

At last, a front-page lead story favourable to CYF, the
Child, Youth & Family service. This much-put-upon
agency invariably gets blamed by the media every
time a terrible case of child abuse occurs. No matter
how hard its people work to save children from toxic
domestic situations, fault will somehow be found by
those who think CYF should have done more. These
are usually cheap shots, in my view. Having as a
journalist seen a little of it for myself, I have nothing
but admiration for the kind of work the agency does,
going into private homes and trying to sort out the
most dreadful messes. So it’s good to see the
Dominion Post today telling us that ‘Dozens of
newborns are being taken from their mothers every
year because of fears for their safety,’ and that such
custody orders have doubled in the past five years.
That’s awful news in one sense but positive in another:
thanks to better awareness among health and social
workers, potentially abusive situations are being
anticipated before they erupt and lead to the kind of
headlines with which we’re all too sadly familiar.
Remembering the brutal revelations that came out in
1992 about the abuse and death of two-year-old
Delcelia Witika I’m tremendously impressed and
relieved to see that as soon as CYF learnt last year
that Delcelia's mother Tania was pregnant, it got a
custody order for the child, and duly took it into care
once it was born. The chief executive of the Ministry of
Social Development, of which CYF is part, says they’re
working to create an environment in which abuse and
neglect will not be tolerated. Absolutely. Thank you.

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