August 27, 2015
Invisible racism leads to CYF jail time
A Maori child advocate says a new report on Child Youth and Family indicates a high degree of institutional racism.
The report by the Commissioner for Children, Russell Wills, says 58 percent of children and teenagers in the care of the service, including 68 percent of those in residential care are Maori, despite Maori making up just 35 percent of the population under 17.
Anton Blank says residential care amounts to jails for teenagers, and continues despite decades of research showing it is inherently harmful.
He says while the service tries to be aware of bicultural factors and partnership, there seems to be unconscious bias operating.
"I don't think that Child Youth and Family staff actively or knowingly make racist decisions about Maori children. I think there are unconscious attitudes that are playing out and a lot of those decisions are made by Maori social workers, so we are perpetuating the stereotypes and the racism ourselves," Mr Blank says.
He says the high level of Maori dealt with by Child, Youth and Family reflects high levels of family violence among Maori, but the problem becomes worse because the young people are then far more likely than others to be placed in care.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH ANTON BLANK CLICK ON THE LINK
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