October 27, 2016
Foster parent focus just part of solution
A Maori social services advocate says a call for more Maori foster parents shows the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children is trying to fix the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem.
The ministry says while 60 percent of the 5000 children in state care are Maori, only 30 percent of the 3500 foster parent registered with Child, Youth and Family last year were Maori.
A requirement for staff to consider placing a child or young person with a person from their hapu or iwi is also being dropped from legislation covering the sector.
Lady Tureiti Moxon, the managing director of Hamilton-based Te Kohau Health, says the focus needs to be on making whanau stronger so they can look after their own tamariki.
"Children need to feel loved, they need to have a sense of belonging, that they know who their whakapapa is, where they come from, where the marae is, where their cultural connectedness is, where their whanau networks are and by bringing in other whanau, for the most them it is a very lonely life," she says.
Tureiti Moxon says a fundamental weakness with fostering is always going to be that if things become too difficult, the child can always be dumped back on the state.
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