United action can beat child abuse, says expert

NZ Herald Sep 19, 2009
New Zealand’s top child advocate is urging people to offer practical help to families where children are being abused, instead of simply calling in child welfare officers. Children’s Commissioner John Angus, a former social worker with what is now Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS), said he was shocked at the number of grandparents who rang CYFS about their grandchildren without having spoken with the parents first. “There were other situations where they had tried their best. But picking up the phone to CYFS as a first response to concerns about how the grandchildren are getting on doesn’t seem to me a way to get ahead of the problem.”

He told a forum organised by Family First that grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbours who feared that children were being abused or neglected could do something about it themselves. “It might be really practical things, like who cares for the children when the parents go out drinking on a Friday night,” he said.