Thursday, July 28, 2016

Flight of the Doves? Not quite

It was a poignant movie from 1971. An older brother (played by the late Jack Wild) flees Liverpool with his baby sister in tow, escaping an ill-motivated uncle, designated caregiver since the death of their mother, to return to Ireland in search of their grandma.

The modern version isn't quite as fairy-tale like.

Reading between the lines, these two children (reported as running away with a suitcase a few days ago) have been persuaded to leave their foster/whanau care to be picked up by parent or associate of parent nearby.

But I am having difficulty understanding why CYF has issued the following statement. With such high priority routinely placed on privacy, this action surprises me. Is there a whiff of back-covering here? Or is it merely a matter of CYF needing to develop the discourse with media given the children's disappearance has already been well-publicized? Any other ideas?

Concerns remain for missing brother and sister
28 July 2016.
Child, Youth and Family General Manager Operations, Kay Read calls for the McLean whānau to bring children out of hiding.

“We are extremely concerned about two young children that are currently missing. Their mother has texted us to confirm they are with wider family, but will not let us or the Police know where the children are so we can be satisfied about their safety.

“Our primary concern is for the safety and wellbeing of these children and we urge the family to return them safely – and to do this immediately.

“Children shouldn’t be used a bargaining chips in an attempt to influence decisions regarding custody or placement. Decisions around the custody of children and young people are a matter for the Family Court and are made with the best interests of the children as an absolute priority. No decisions can be made while these children are still missing.

“Child, Youth and Family has always been willing to work with this mother and her wider family and we will continue this involvement.”

RNZ updates

The mother waived privacy rights. Yet, "It is not appropriate for the details of this case to be played out in the public arena," the [CYF]spokesperson said. So still a question mark over the reasons behind the release.

Monday, July 25, 2016

There's cash going begging?

Police are considering paying for child abuse tip-offs. They say too many people aware that a child is being abused or neglected do not report it. Some people have so lost their moral compass, they say, that only a cash reward would prompt action.

There are so many fish hooks here.

If a witness is more motivated by money than their concern for a child, what kind of person is being prompted? Malicious reports are already a problem. (NZ doesn't keep data but some countries do. No reason we would be any different).

In any case, the problem of not reporting is complex. It isn't necessarily indifference or collusion.
Any person with a modicum of intelligence will consider the repercussions of a report.

1/  For the victim, removing a child from its home and mother is a very, very serious step to take. Where does the child go? The outcomes from foster care and state care are not good. These children can end up physically safer but emotionally, irrevocably damaged. Prisons are full of the product of state care.

2/ If  the risk to the child staying is so great that all of the above looks better, then what kind of parent(s) are you dealing with?

3/ What retaliation will be visited upon you and more importantly, your children?

4/ Are you on balance better to provide a safe haven for the child without involving the authorities?

People who live in environments most likely to harbour child abuse and neglect do not typically trust CYF or the Police. And increasingly I can understand why.

Police act as if a report of child abuse is akin to waving a magic wand over the head of a child. It isn't. It merely begins a chain of events that have the potential to cause even greater harm to the child.

It may save their life, though murdered children are often already known to CYF.

The success of cash as an incentive is evidence-based. It's no coincidence that most abused children are born onto a benefit.

So if there is more going begging, use it to incentivize vasectomies, sterilizations and long-acting contraception. Because some people will take it. And they are the people who have little interest in being a parent - let alone a decent parent.