June 10, 2020
Power shift needed to fix child welfare crisis
A Te Waipounamu rangatira says the Children’s Commissioner’s report on Oranga Tamariki confirm yet again that the system of child protection is broken and racist.
Tā Mark Solomon says many of the same problems were identified in last year’s independent Māori review of the agency, and are the same as the late John Rangihau identified 30 years ago in his report on the welfare system, Pūao Te Ata Tū.
That report's solution, empowering communities to address the issues themselves, still applies.
"We need to be pushing all the time to have these types of processes changed, removed, bring a bit of justice into it. The sad thing about Oranga Tamariki, the purpose behind their set up is good, it's to protect children from abuse and violence, The problem has become to do that, they practice abuse and violence," he says.
Tā Mark says the abusive and racist nature of the system was highlighted by a woman who gave evidence to the Māori inquiry that her choice was between continuing to be bashed by her partner or reporting it and losing her children.
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