Saturday 12 September 2009

Pushing a barrow full of 'I told you so'

Ever had a look at CYFSwatchNZ? Don't bother. It's a site dedicated to naming and shaming CYFS workers, and its host is alleged to have made a death threat against Sue Bradford). CYFSwatchNZ describes their mission thus:

In a democracy, it is the duty of all true patriots to defend their democracy by speaking out about the things that are wrong, those that try to prevent that voice from speaking out, or those that attack that voice, can and should be considered enemies of the state.

Advice I'll take to heart as I build up my private militia. Not.

Anyway, CYFSwatchNZ is very concerned to reduce the incidence of child abuse, and is doing so by, amongst other things, supporting smacking, and applauding Michael Laws for writing angry letters to children. It's a site with more than a whiff of ranty mega-conservative Christianity about it.

But this effort takes the cake. CYFSwatchNZ exploits the recent, terrible tragedy in Christchurch - the discovery of the bodies of Tisha Lowry and Rebecca Somerville - by arguing the women's murders were prompted by CYFS' removal of the Somervilles' children from their family home. Had the children been left in their 'traditional' family, everything would have been dandy, apparently. This is so dumb and so insensitive to the families of the victims that I'm not going to comment further on it - except to note that the same CYFSwatchNZ author/s who have such strong views about the sanctity of family life have just offered a particularly weak and ludicrous justification for horrific acts of male violence ("CYFS drove me to it"). And I don't think they're even aware of it.

I find this implicit attitude towards family violence from CYFSwatchNZ deeply disturbing, and it makes me fearful for what kind of family arrangements they are willing to endorse. Frankly, I'm just not convinced that a wrathful Old Testament God is the best source of modern parenting advice.


Anonymous said...

You do know the Peter Burns quoted in the story is none other than the lunatic dad4justice?

Boganette said...

I've been a long-time hater of CYFWatch. I have friends who work for CYF and nobody should live in fear of unstable fundies like those CYFWatch nutters.

Their latest rants don't surprise me at all.

Death threats and justification of violence are what those loonies are all about.

Anna said...

Anon, I did click to the Peter Burns/D4J connection eventually. And I couldn't fathom that his first reaction to finding out about the tragedy was to have a go at CYFS. The fact that he was advocating for someone capable of such awful violence to get his kids back apparently hasn't made D4J question his judgement at all. Kids = property, and the property rights of a man who killed his children's mother seem to matter more than the welfare of the kids.

Boganatte, the fact that CYFS workers are exposed to this behaviour really upsets me. They're on an absolute hiding to nothing - you only hear about CYFS when something goes wrong. You never hear the success stories, and there's not much public appreciation of the extraordinary stress and difficulty they work under. They make mistakes like everyone else, but they have jobs that the majority of us just couldn't do. Solidarity with CYFS workers, I say!

Boganette said...

Anna I totally agree. The sad fact is there are people out there who do view children as property just as you said.

And D4J and the CYF Watch nutters aren't the only ones.

Lindsay Mitchell thinks the same way. CYF = bad.

I would link to her blog but it's stupid and it says the same thing CYFwatch says just with grammar and correct spelling.

It's all black and white to them. CYF are evil and welfare = nanny state and bla bla bla. It's kind of funny. But sad at the same time.

Anonymous said...

When I saw Peter Burns on TVOne on Friday night, I was concerned that he and others with an anti-CYF agenda would try to make use of this tragedy for their own ends.

Yet in this morning's Sunday Star Times, Burns is reported to have had some misgivings about Jason Somerville and is glad he wasn't successful in getting the children back.

I never expected to have anything good to say about Peter Burns but these quotes suggest he's (so far) more rational and humane in regard to this case than some other commentators with an anti-CYF agenda.


But Somerville struck Burns as "rather odd". "He was the voice [in the relationship] and she was very quiet. He was a wee bit overpowering at times," Burns said.

Burns last saw the couple a month ago and was devastated when the bodies of Chamberlain and Tisha Lowry were found. "I'm just thankful now, in retrospect, that I wasn't successful in getting their two daughters and son back."

Anna said...

Well, I have to give Peter B credit where it's due then. The articles I read may have reported him slightly disingenuously to play up the conflict element. I just hope the poor children are being well supported and care for.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

No wonder don't link Boganette. Your comment here is a complete misrepresentation of my post and response to you, which was;

"CYF do an invidious job. They work in an inherently risky environment. My point is simply that management should not make official statements about the ramifications of their involvement when it is pure speculation that can never be proved or disproved."

Boganette said...

Well excuse me if I call bullshit on that considering your post and the comments left on your post.

Hide behind that excuse all you want. Fact is CYF can't do anything right in your book (even when they do do the right thing).

I eagerly await the "CYF is to blame for the recession" post on your blog and CYFWatch.

Maybe even a "CYF is to blame for global warming"?

"CYF killed Michael Jackson?"

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Two posts that have empathised with CYF.

As stated CYF do an invidious job. Their social workers are often damned if they do and damned if they don't. As a volunteer I know what kinds of people and circumstances they are dealing with. I do not envy them. And, by the way, I have more sympathy for them than some of my fellow volunteers.

What I do object to is CYF's administration of adoption. They actively persuade prospective mothers with no support to go on welfare and actively dissuade them from adoption.

But in the area of child protection they have an important role. As in any profession there will be a mix of good and bad. I have witnessed a good and experienced CYF staff member dealing well with a very difficult situation and she had my every respect.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh Lindsay, always advocating the throwing of single mothers and their children on the streets, or at least taking the babies off the poor and giving them to the rich.


Anonymous said...

ve the way people see what they want in a site like CYFSWatch. You are all blowing off and ignoring the real problem. Yes, CYFS is a necessary agency to assist with the proper care of our children. What is NOT right is the secrecy, lack of proper training of Social Workers, the outright lying and bullying of parents who have actually ASKED for help... these are the real issues that you seem to want to ignore. Keep up the good work....