Child abuse has again been in the headlines over the last few weeks, most recently following the release of the Children’s Commissioner’s State of Care report into the treatment of children in the care of Child, Youth and Family (CYF). The report contained a number of recommendations, which the Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley has said will be taken into account in the major overhaul of the agency that is presently underway.
Leading the review is Paula Rebstock, an economist and the former Chair of the Commerce Commission, who has already directed far-reaching reforms for the government into Social Welfare and the Department of Corrections. It is understood that a ‘social investment’ approach is being promoted for CYF, which will put children’s needs at its centre – as well as focussing on what works and how to get best value for money. The report is said to be with Cabinet and is expected to be released in its final form by the end of the year.
However, no matter what structural changes to the child protection agency are introduced, nor what new processes are brought in, the problems of abused and damaged children will continue until the government stops paying women who are not in loving and stable relationships to have babies.
Twinned with mine, Violence made viable
Lots of people survive courtesy of a benefit. They do so because they are too sick to work, can’t find a job, have children who need feeding with no other source of income, and so on. There are a myriad of reasons why people receive welfare. Most of these people – 300,000 or thereabouts – are not violent. The same can be said of the general population. Yet the odds that violence will occur within the beneficiary population are much higher.
That’s what the statistical evidence says. Violence – or more particularly – family violence, is relatively common in New Zealand. There are 100,000 family violence reports to police annually, yet the government thinks this represents only 20% of the actual level. The thought that half a million reports would better represent the actual state of affairs in Aoteoroa is chilling. And, frankly, hard to believe. (Perhaps a flag with a fist on it would best portray New Zealand?)