Thursday, August 27, 2015

The latest CYF instalment

The Children's Commissioner has released a report about children in state care, and Simon Collin's coverage extends to the general state of CYF and intended overhaul.

I have read histories of child welfare work in NZ. I've read every author who knows anything worth knowing on the subject. Commissions of inquiry, radical organisational changes, transfer of responsibility between departments, name changes and reforming legislation are the norm.

The nature of CYF is chaotic because it deals with chaotic people. The organisation is in crisis because it exists to respond to crisis. No law changes, or system revamps, or 'best practice' applications will change that.

I feel sorry for the people who work with deeply dysfunctional families. The best of them burn out, and the worst become desensitized.

This latest from the Commissioner, and then Paula Rebstock's panel to "transform" CYF are just part and parcel of the ongoing drama that is chasing the tail of  inter-generational social malaise driven by paying people to have babies.

One particular statistic stood out from the Herald item though:

Maori make up ... 68 per cent of young people in the nine CYF residences, compared with 24 per cent of all children under 15. 

Tragic. Especially when a good chunk of it evolves into 50 percent of adults in state residences.

5 comments:

Brendan McNeill said...

"just part and parcel of the ongoing drama that is chasing the tail of inter-generational social malaise driven by paying people to have babies."

Seriously Lindsay, why do you think no politician will honestly address that question or open a debate around that social policy setting?

Lindsay Mitchell said...

ACT tried and failed. And since, 'welfare' has expanded to take in more voters with WFF and PPL so it gets ever harder to suggest people shouldn't be paid when they have babies. As well, the debate inevitably leads to the subjects of abortion and adoption, and politicians are terrified of both. Politicians aren't chosen by their parties to be honest; they are chosen to get elected.

Sorry for the cynicism.

(To be fair, the current system pays teenage parents far less cash than previously because the public accepted that BABIES shouldn't be paid to have babies. I'd like to think the policy change is playing a part in the reducing teen birthrate. But otherwise the status quo remains, thus the addition of children to an existing benefit continues. IMO - based on statistical evidence and supposition - this is the group from which most of the CYF activity derives.)

BTW Brendan I lost your e-mail address after a laptop malfunction.

Anonymous said...

Well said Lindsay - by the time CYF get involved it's already to late. The Minister can park the ambulances at the bottom of the cliff in whatever configuration she likes, but it won't make a blind bit of difference.

John B said...

Hence the need for a moral society.

(Once people decide that they can vote for more money to be given to them, the whole system begins to collapse.)

Anonymous said...

(Once people decide that they can vote for more money to be given to them, the whole system begins to collapse.)

Right. So this isn't about morality, it is simply about the Constitution.

If you had a Constitution that permitted only "general welfare" (like roads, military, police etc) and not specific welfare --- like benefits, super, healthcare or education provided to specific individuals --- and guaranteed a "Republican Form of Government" so that this couldn't be changed --- then we shouldn't have this problem...