December 06, 2016
Policy ignores cultural trauma
The Maori Women’s Welfare League says the number of Maori children caught up in state care means Maori need to be involved in any policy changes.
The league has filed a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal challenging Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s proposed changes to the care and protection of children and young persons.
The new policy says its main aim is to place children in a safe, stable, loving home.
League president Prue Kapua says it removes the existing priority that placement should be within whanau, hapu and iwi wherever.
That priority came out of the 1988 Puao Te Ata tu report, which identified institutional racism within the Department of Social Welfare.
She says fact the department has fallen short of those requirements does not justify abandoning them.
"Our kids are still suffering and we have still got issues about their connectedness, their identity, the trauma they go through not knowing who they are, and all of those things, so we all know those facts but we are now faced with a policy change that ignores all that collective knowledge," Ms Kapua says.
She says Anne Tolley needs to adopt a far more open approach tom policy making.
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