Thursday, January 16, 2020

Dodgy stats

This table is taken from the statistical snapshot that informs the Children's Commissioner widely reported comments about inequity between the Oranga Tamariki's treatment of Maori and non Maori babies pre and post-birth:

Notice that the number of 'Ethinicity [sic] not specified' has climbed significantly since 2004 when they numbered just 3 - or 1.6% of all reports. Last year they numbered 336 - or 21.8% of all reports.

Now, the more babies that are removed from the non-Maori group the greater the gap grows between Maori and non-Maori.

Look at it this way. In 2004 Maori reports made up 53 percent of the total. And in 2019 Maori reports made up ... 53 percent of the total.

I don't think any conclusive claim can be made about Maori versus non-Maori with such a significant non-specified group. For instance, "There were eight times more concerns reported for unborn Māori babies in 2019, as compared with 2004. In that same time, reported concerns for non-Māori increased only 4.5 times."

And it leaves a question mark over the rest of the data pertaining to 0-3 month olds.

Is the removal of Maori babies "racism and bias"?

According to RNZ:
"Māori babies were five times more likely to end up in state care than non-Māori last year and their rate of urgent entries into state care has doubled since 2010, official figures show.
In that same period, 61 Māori babies were ordered into state care before they were born, compared to just 21 non-Māori.
Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft released the statistics this morning as part of a widescale inquiry into the removal of Māori babies, aged up to three months old, by the state.
That age group had been selected because that was where the statistics showed there were problems, and because it was a crucial bonding time for mother and child.
Judge Becroft said the figures raised clear questions about racism and bias within the state care sector.
"I've said previously that it's impossible to factor out the enduring legacy of colonisation... or modern day systemic bias," he said.
"Now that, to some extent, will obviously be at play here as it is across all decision-making and all government departments."
The inequities for Māori had grown over time and continued to worsen, Judge Becroft said."
 Is it not also possible that the high degree of risk-aversion rife through the public service is playing a role? After all the  rate of child abuse and neglect deaths has also been much higher among Maori children.

Previously I have posted the official stats as published by the Family Violence Death Review Committee. The most recent:

If the risk is greater based on factual evidence, and authorities act on that known risk, is that "racism and bias"?

But I also have sympathy for those who are decrying the high rate of removal. Personally nothing riles me more than laws, regulations and processes designed to tackle a small minority of offenders being over-zealously or even universally applied.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Children threatening to report parents

Looking at poll results commissioned by Family First regarding the anti-smacking law a couple of things stood out.
22% of parents with young children said their child had threatened to report them to the authorities if they were smacked
Coincidentally I overheard a conversation between a Maori and Pacific family in a hospital waiting room recently. Grandparents were comparing number of mokopuna. The Maori lady expressed a view that her mokopuna were scared of her because they knew she was tough, whereas they would manipulate their parents by threatening to call the cops if they were smacked.

That may be a good or bad thing. Maybe it serves the purpose of cooling the parent down momentarily. But maybe the better result is that the child stops whatever behaviour is heading for a smack. Whatever the case the children may fear the grandmother more but they also respect her more.

I wonder if children also threaten to call the authorities if they are under the age of 14 and left alone?

Somehow I doubt it.
50% of respondents said that despite the law they would smack their child to correct their behaviour if reasonable to do so.
A law that is so widely disregarded is not good law.

But we seem to have plenty of them.