Sunday, September 27, 2015

LET'S HAVE AN HONEST CONVERSATION

The recently released report on children under care of Child Youth and Family (CYF) is damning.   Put simply, children in care continue to suffer abuse.   The stats are sobering.   For those children in care who were born in the twelve months to June 1991 and by the time they had reached age 21 almost 90% were on a benefit and over 25% were on a benefit with a child. 60% did not have NZEA Level 2; over 30% had a youth justice referral by age 18 while 20% had a custodial sentence and 40% a community sentence.

CYF has been under continual review and has been restructured 14 times since 2000 but nothing changes.   Children going into care are likely to emerge as 'damaged goods'.    This has to stop.  

Clearly there is a foster-care industry out there that doesn't work and never has.   Of course there will be foster families that do a great job where the kids come first and are better for that but we are putting our heads in the sand when we fail to recognize that some so called 'care-givers' shouldn't be allowed near kids. And how about the canard that Maori and Pacifica kids can only be placed with Maori and Pacifica families?   Desirable, perhaps.   Essential, no.   More importantly, care-givers have to be properly resourced and rigorously monitored.   There has to be a paradigm shift in the way children in care are looked after.

The Government has signaled its intention to change the system through their Community Investment Strategy based on a preparedness to invest money up front to guard against problems further down the track.   It needs to because, as the CYF Report shows, the status quo is not acceptable.

One final point and given the fact that six out of ten children in care are Maori, it is time to call out all the crap we hear about 'a loving whanau'.   The reality is that for a significant minority of Maori families there is no love, only neglect and violence.

In the final analysis Maoridom needs to take ownership of the problem be it Hapu, Iwi or Whanau Ora navigator.   Whatever, the simple message must be that booze, baccy, drugs and the pokies must take a distant third place to looking after the kids.   And don't hand me any crap like 'colonial oppression' as an excuse.   I don't do Hone Harawira.

6 comments:

Noel said...

Have I missed something? Another infant death at Starship?
So we have another scheme in the making. What's to follow another talkfest? These cyclic scenarios are becoming habitual with all their promises.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... no Starship (this time). You have to recognise the problem before you can do something about it. As I said, the Report is damning and tweaking around the edges an't going to make a difference.

Part of the answer is parents taking personal responsibility ... easy said but not easily achievable when there is a whole culture out there all to ready to blame someone else for ones failings. Another part is getting over the pc culture that pervades decision making at many levels. But the logic of providing additional funding up front in order to try and prevent downstream problems seems sound.

Whatever, the status quo ain't working.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

It appears to me that CYF is overly indulgent of Maori and hostage to the idea of 'cultural safety' (an awful misnomer.)
Regarding their philosophy of striving to keep children with (or return them to) their often incapable and/or criminal birth families, the principle of redemption or second chances is all well and good when offered to the adult individual. But how many times should a child be exposed to known risks in order to satisfy liberal impulse?

Noel said...

"Regarding their philosophy of striving to keep children with (or return them to) their often incapable and/or criminal birth families"

No different to the aims of the Youth Court.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... and that is to be applauded?

Lindsay Mitchell said...

"No different to the aims of the Youth Court."

Exactly. Still trying long after the damage has been done. Probably irrevocably.