Improving CYF’s response to allegations

  • Anne Tolley
Social Development

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says Child, Youth and Family is improving its operations and partnerships with other agencies following a review by the Chief Social Worker into CYF’s involvement in the “Roastbusters” case.

The Minister asked for the review to ensure that lessons were learned from CYF’s response to the allegations from the young people involved, and that any necessary changes to the agency’s operations would be implemented.

The report, which is released today, finds that there was a lack of clarity about CYF’s role in responding to vulnerable young people alongside some miscommunication and misinformation, and that vulnerable adolescents fall into a gap between care and protection services and youth justice services.

Work is underway to improve CYF’s operations, which will include clearer instruction on record keeping, information sharing and roles and responsibilities in relation to harmful sexual behaviour and vulnerable teenagers.

Improvements are also being made to the partnership between CYF and Police with a more strategic response required both in how information is shared on a case by case basis, and how resources and unmet needs are identified and considered at a local community level.

“I welcome this review and its recommendations, all of which are being implemented by CYF, while the wider Vulnerable Children’s Board will address how best to improve inter-agency coordination on harmful sexual behaviour,” says Mrs Tolley.  

“CYF accepts that it could have done better in this case, and it is vital that the agency learns from this and adapts its processes and operations so that any future response addresses the needs of vulnerable young people.

“While it is unusual to release such reviews, I believe there is a need for transparency on this issue given the strong public interest and that it was one of the first cases to involve social media.  Any redactions have been made to protect the identities and maintain the privacy and confidentiality of the young people involved.

“The review has also fed into the work of the expert advisory panel, as it prepares a detailed business case on the overhaul of CYF. The panel’s report is due to be delivered to me within the next few weeks. Once I have considered the report I plan to take a paper to Cabinet on the next steps early in 2016.”

The Chief Social Worker’s review is available at