1/ There will always be children born into circumstances that warrant their removal. But when you pay people to reproduce there will be more.
2/ In the past most of these children were put up for adoption. That outcome wasn't always ideal but it was a better alternative than constant upheaval and removal from one placement to another. Adoption delivered a better result than the philosophy of striving to keep the child with its birth mother or blood family at any cost. Because ultimately the child ends up in state care anyway more damaged than it would have been if adopted out at birth.
|A Salvation Army home in the 1950s|
3/ Increasingly there are people who want and cannot have children. That's abundantly clear from the burgeoning fertility treatment industry.
I've known a number of people who were adopted out at birth, and have read or heard other people's stories. Most have relished the fact that their adoptive parents raised and loved them as their own and they were provided with stability and security. Some have had emotional and behavioural problems coming to terms with the circumstances of their birth and being 'given up'. One I knew was getting into trouble with the law as a teenage boy; another was getting into trouble with the law because the family he was adopted into had strong gang links. But they were the exceptions.
Compare the now known results of "having a care placement" by age 21:
• Almost 90 per cent were on a benefit;
• More than 25 per cent were on a benefit with a child;
• Almost 80 per cent did not have NCEA Level 2;
• More than 30 per cent had a youth justice referral by the age of 18;
• Almost 20 per cent had had a custodial sentence;
• Almost 40 per cent had a community sentence;
• Overall, six out of every 10 children in care are Maori.
It doesn't matter how CYF is structured or how caregivers are reimbursed or how professionalised social workers are. What matters is reducing the incentives for people to produce children haphazardly, but, if they do, acting swiftly to get those children into a nurturing and stable home.