Tuesday, July 23, 2019

'Harm in state care' does not mean harm inflicted by the state

Not my first post on this subject but there now seems to be an official response from Oranga Tamariki clarifying the true situation.

While Maori organisations plan to protest the uplift of Maori children many people are under the misapprehension that the state is actively harming children under its care.

That only happens in a handful of circumstances and usually as part of attempts to manage the child or young person.

Oranga Tamariki deputy chief executive Hoani Lambert said the majority of the harm to Māori children happened in placements where they had been left with their family.

OT has to front-foot this issue due to biased media reporting. For instance, a letter I wrote (published) to the DomPost back in March:

Michelle Duff (DomPost, March 28) writes about the 220 children abused "in state care", they were "...taken from their families, from their homes, to a place that's meant to be safer". Most children who are 'in state care' are placed with an approved family member or returned to their original caregivers. They are under the legal custody of the state (Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive) but not living in foster care or residential homes. Most of the abuse occurred in placements that were family-related or having been returned to parents. Most of the abusers were family members or parents. No abuse or re-abuse of children is acceptable. But the facts show that family members and parents posed the greatest danger to these victims. This suggests that where the state primarily fails is in poor decision-making and monitoring of risk. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Without context and details of each incident, the Report is meaningless. And, as you have pointed out before, low numbers are involved.
The definition of harm could mean a little bruise to a broken leg.
If an adult breaks up a fight between two children, and bruises one, then this is counted as harm.
The report seemingly gives lots of data, but it is hard to extrapolate useful info. E.g what proportion of children are harmed based on ethnicity and placement type. Are more Maori likely to be placed in family placements than non-Maori? One cannot make observations on current debate without these figures.