Thursday, February 16, 2017

Falling out over whanau first

Maori Party MP Marama Fox is threatening to pull support from the government over legislation that removes cultural priority when placing a Maori child in care. But her choice of words would lead you to believe she supported the change:

"Just because we want to provide a safe and loving home doesn't make it mutually exclusive to a Maori home," Fox said.
What she actually wants is the status quo - whanau first.

Winston Peters disagrees. Unusually I am completely in accordance with him:
"I've known of too many children thrown from pillar to post between whanau members. I also know of hundreds of Maori who have been massively successful because they were lucky to have relations who would look after them.
"But to apply a blanket whanau-first principle just does not in the circumstances make any sense," Peters said.
The government is currently recruiting people who can effectively adopt children under their Home For Life programme.

The most crucial thing for a child is that they have a 'parent' that puts their needs and well-being foremost. Whether they are kin or not must be a secondary consideration.

Fox says:
History has already resulted in a "stolen generation," said Fox.
"Children who were put into state care immediately went to the bottom of every disparaging statistic in this country. They immediately are more likely to offend, more likely to be in prison, more likely to fall out of education."
That ignores the current push to find permanent and stable homes for children.

For too long there have been hundreds of couples wanting to adopt and thanks to CYF's antipathy for removing children from their whanau, very few children can take advantage.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says:
 “The fundamental provision in this bill in the deliberate intention to remove Māori children from Māori whānau for good! It is an assimilationist policy!”
Bunkum. It's long overdue policy to keep children safe. To give them the best chance of leading happy and fulfilling lives. If anything it's about ignoring (or at least de-proritising) race and culture and seeing the child as an individual foremost.

There has also been extensive consultation with children - and that's ongoing.

The [Expert Panel review of CYF] found children and young people said they crave nurturing and love, and feel the stigma of being in care. They feel powerless in the face of a system which is perceived to hold all the power and have no voice in important decisions being made about their future.

Anne Tolley can have the last word:
Minister Anne Tolley says that the goal of this bill, is to bring the focus squarely on the children.
“The bill makes changes to the purposes and the principles of the act, to imbed a truly child centric approach and ensure children's and young people's participation.”


Jim Rose said...

It is a worry when Winston Peters is talking sense on social policy.

Children are placed with relatives if it is safe to do so. If they are not, they should not be placed there. The race of the child is irrelevant to whether it is relatives are a safe place.

I am just completely bamboozled by this debate. There is a large literature in the USA on Indian tribal child welfare law that showed giving a preference to tribal relatives turned out to be a disaster. Children are left in dangerous places longer and returned to them sooner.

gravedodger said...

Marama needs to reduce her stupid meds and go read up on where Maori have made the greatest real gains. and while she is at it ignore the empty divisive patronising rubbish that Palmer promoted, as I suggested "real" gains for all Maori not just the manipulative elite. Gee Whiz could they accommodate Marama in their demographic, I guess so.

Rick said...

By my read there are battle lines drawing up here toward the Second Reading mid-year.

Tolly, Amy Adams, Winston are already up for it on one side.

On the other, Fox & Turei will be joined by Susan Devoy's Race Relations Commission and Waitangi Tribunal Claimants, and a gaggle of pre-DPB unmarried mothers. I also anticipate counselling and social service advocates stepping out demanding more funding. The Labour Coalition will promise to find the stolen generation after making a losing spectacle of this upcoming Children, Young Persons and their Families legislation Bill.

It's all one snowball.