Friday, March 15, 2019

The re-abuse of children in state care

One of the longstanding debates regarding the removal of children who have been abused or neglected is whether Maori children should be placed with whanau/ returned to their families versus removal elsewhere. So new data about the re-abuse of children who are already officially in state care is interesting from that perspective alone.

In the quarter to September 2018 there were 200 findings of physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect concerning 130 individuals. Fifty nine percent of children in state care are Maori but accounted for 71% of the abuse findings.

A majority of the re-abuse occurred in a family placement (family member) or return to family care (usually parent). Most (60%) of the re-abuse was physical.

Most of the physical abuse occurred in a family or return/remain home placement. Almost all of the neglect occurred in these two categories, and most of the emotional abuse. Only sexual abuse (19 findings) had a different pattern and over half of that had occurred when the child was away from care eg had absconded.

Based on these statistics the evidence for keeping children within the whanau is not great. BUT there are around 6,300 children in state care so 130 isn't a high proportion.

(At this Stuff link there are also stats to December 2018)