August 06, 2020
Subsequent child removal power to go
Cabinet has agreed to repeal the part of the Oranga Tamariki Act that allows the child protection agency to remove subsequent children if the first has been taken into care.
Minister for Children Tracey Martin says interpretation of the current law has meant some children may have been unnecessarily traumatised and kept apart from their parents.
The provision will still apply in cases where a parent has a conviction for the murder, manslaughter or infanticide of a child in their care.
Helen Leahy from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, the South Island whānau ora commissioning agency, says the announcement has clearly been influenced by the advocacy of the Māori Design Group and the recommendations from the Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki.
She says evidence from New York, where the number of children in foster care dropped from 50,000 in the early 1990s to fewer than 14,000 20 years later, was that unless they are in extreme danger children do better with their families than they do in care.
Te Pūtahitanga has consistently argued the most important thing for child wellbeing is to resource, invest and believe in the power and potential of whānau to do for themselves.
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