Child, Youth and Family (New Zealand)
Logo of Child, Youth and Family
|Minister responsible||Paula Bennett|
|Parent agency||New Zealand Ministry of Social Development|
Child, Youth and Family "CYF" (in Māori, Te Tari Awhina i te Tamaiti, te Rangatahi, tae atu ki te Whanau), is the government agency that has legal powers to intervene to protect and help children who are being abused or neglected or who have problem behaviour. CYF works with the Police and the Courts in dealing with young offenders under the youth justice system. It provides residential and care services for children in need of care and protection and for young offenders. CYF assesses people who wish to adopt children and it reports to the Family Court on adoption applications. CYF facilitates the exchange of identifying information for parties to past adoptions. The agency also funds community organisations working with children, young people and their families to support the community’s role in protecting and helping children.
CYF is a functional unit of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), following the 2006 merger of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and MSD. CYFS had been established in 1999 from the former Children and Young Persons Service (CYPS).
Responsibility for CYF is included in the portfolio of the Minister for Social Development and Employment. The current Minister is Hon. Paula Bennett.
MSD administers, or is involved in administering, the following CYF-related legislation:
- Adoption Act 1955,
- Adult Adoption Information Act 1985,
- Adoption (Intercountry) Act 1997,
- Care of Children Act 2004,
- Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989,
- Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act 1975,
- Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988.
Protecting children and young people who are at risk of or who have been abused or neglected, or who are at risk of offending, is the service's primary responsibility, and it carries out investigations when a child or young person is believed to be "at risk". Where there is a risk of serious harm, it can exercise powers to ensure that a child is kept safe from that risk. The department also deals with youth justice, a section of the law that deals mainly with offending by young people aged 14–16 years, and adoption through The Adoption Information and Services Unit (AISU).
In addition, the department provides residential and care services for children and young people who require placing away from their parents, guardians or usual caregivers, and funds a wide range of community-based social services, with a focus on children, young people and families in need of support.
CYFS Watch blog
In January 2007, a controversial blog "CYFS Watch" appeared on Google's Blogger. The blog's stated aim was unveiling examples of alleged incompetence by the Child Youth and Family Service and published the personal details of several CYFS social workers. The Ministry responded by complaining to Google. In late February, the blog's anonymous author made death threats towards Green MP Sue Bradford as a result of her Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill 2005. Google responded on 22 February 2007 by deleted the site as a breach of their terms of service.