June 19, 2017
Oranga Tamariki policy ignores poverty and whanau
A big thumbs down for the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki.
A study by Otago University senior social work lecturer Emily Keddell of the Government’s direction on child protection services says the aims of the reforms need to be broadened from being economically oriented to socially oriented, and there needs to a more holistic goal of child and family wellbeing.
Dr Keddell says the causes of abuse have been individualistically framed, downplaying key evidence about the relationship between child abuse, social inequalities, poverty and community factors.
She also questions whether the Government is putting too much faith in market mechanisms to deliver required prevention services through third party contractors.
As Maori are over-represented in child-welfare cases, flaws in the system will have disproportionate effects on whanau and hapu Maori.
These include a child rescue approach that least to children being removes earlier and placed in permanent care arrangements, which diminishes the importance of family, whanau, iwi and community relationships.
The report, commissioned by AUT’s Policy Observatory, says nowhere is the reality of parenting within resource-poor contexts taken into account, nor the damage of removal to children acknowledged.
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