Thursday, September 30, 2010

ZenTiger CYFS responsible for more than the second tragedy

A few months ago we were treated to the story of Child Youth Family Services returning a baby to a depressed mother. Two days later, the baby drowned in the bathtub having been left unattended by the mother.

CYFS apologised for returning the child, saying that they were over-worked and junior staff made a bad call. That explains part of the issue (and that in itself is not really a valid excuse, even if it is understandable).

The chilling point in this whole affair is finding information we normally wouldn't be privy to, and this underscores the point I made on the previous post about the smacking laws.

The chilling point I refer to is that the Mother had rightfully demanded return of her two children, even though she was unable to cope.

Why was that? Because her 5 year old child had been sexually assaulted whilst in the care of CYFS.

The birth mother may not have been a safe place for this baby, but it seems CYFS were not much safer either. So whilst CYFS is busy apologising for the "error in judgment" maybe we need to have a better system of scrutiny around how safe CYFS are in comparison? Because I doubt very much we would have ever heard of the first tragedy, had it not been for the second.

Many reports do not mention this absolutely vital point, (and silence again here) which is in itself a failure of the media, because the first tragedy was the actual catalyst for the second tragedy. And yet the angle we hear is that CYFS staff made a bad decision in returning the child. Sorry, that comment is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Which simply underscores the point I made about the anti-smacking law change and the whitewash analysis that suggests "the law is working" without actually examining the places where the law actually counts - in the very private affairs of CYFS. Here's what I said on that thread that also seems pertinent to this post:
Before the anti-smacking law people were also prosecuted for hitting children, where it looked to be a case of physical assault, rather than a little smack. So what's changed from that regard?

What has changed with this law is an assumption that any smack is equivalent to child abuse, and that puts parents who smack rarely and as a considered action (ie not in anger) are de facto child abusers, who have to rely on the State to "let them go" as distinct from "find them innocent". This then empowers the state to act in situations they have no real jurisdiction.

These fundamental changes cannot be measured by a few visible court cases, but only in the secret ( hidden from public scrutiny) actions of the Child Youth Family Services. We will only learn of such abuse of power years after the case, which by then is far too late in the matter of individual justice.

Related Link: CYFS apologise for half their error

And here's a fuller account: Actually, it was a monumental stuff up

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