July 21, 2019
Systemic inequity shown in baby grab numbers
The first study of New Zealand child protection encounters by ethnicity has found Māori children are almost four times more likely than those of European descent to be placed in care.
The Auckland University of Technology study published in the American Journal of Public Health tracked almost 60,000 children from birth until the age of 18.
Māori children were far more likely to be reported as an alleged victim of abuse or neglect, to have that substantiated, and for out of home placement to then occur.
Co-author Denise Wilson from AUT's Taupua Waiora Centre for Māori Health Research says by the age of 18, a Māori child had a one in 14 chance of being placed out of home, whereas a child of European ethnicity had just a one in 50 chance of the same outcome.
The gap remained even if poverty was taken into account.
Professor Wilson says the findings show systemic inequality, and there needs to be further examination of the ethnic or cultural bias that exists in communities in terms of reporting Māori to child protection services and the treatment of whānau within those services.
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