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Wed 19th April 2006

Signs of change?

Filed under: Domestic Violence,General,Sex Abuse / CYF — PaulM @ 2:27 am

Reading an article in the current (May) issue of North & South magazine I see some possible signs of change in the thinking that drives NZ social policy. The author of “Our Shame”, as many magazine writers have done before, has set out to (in her words) “traverse the grim statistics of child abuse, neglect, and killings” in this country.

What’s different about this article is that it also traverses a fundamental change that appears to be taking place in thinking at CYFS and amongst some other key players.

Some excerpts:

Dorothy Scott, Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection says current state-run child-protection systems aren’t working and are:

“unsustainable and harmful to children and their families.” Scott says overloaded agencies such as CYFS, forced to resort to coercive heavy handedness, often further hurt the children they are trying to protect.

Ian Hassall, a former Childrens’s Commissioner and now a department head at Auckland University of Technology says:

“Two decades and a cascade of reviews have demonstrated that increasing coercion on the part of the state (in removing children from their families) has not worked.”

Sanely and refreshingly, Lesley Max a ‘social entrepreneur’ and founder of ‘HIPPY’ — Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters — dares to talk about sole parenthood as a “damaging pathway” and a major factor leading to child neglect and abuse.

“The current wisdom in New Zealand is, says Max, that it is how families relate to each other, not how they are structured that’s the problem. In other words it’s not politically correct to focus on sole parenthood.”

Lesley Max suggests:

“a public health promotion” along the lines of the seatbelts, anti-smoking, anti-junk food, anti drink-drive campaigns.”

Unfortunately the article is overall rather incoherent in the range of ideas it puts forward as solutions. Although sole-parenting is named as a risk factor, the obvious need to restore the role of fathers in parenting and in preventing child abuse gets no direct mention. Much of the article reads like a press release from a couple of organizations seeking to expand their empires and gain a bigger slice of government funding.

However it’s clear from what some of the movers and shakers are quoted as saying, that there is an increasing acknowledgement that whatever the state has supposedly been doing to protect children has not been working.

6 Responses to “Signs of change?”

  1. PaulM,
    Thanks for this I had missed it. Sounds good but we must keep the pressure on. There is no room to increase APATHY that has allowed these state experiments to place 300,000+ Kids in odd families.

    HandsOnEqualParenting is the viable option

  2. julie says:

    PaulM,
    Thanx for posting this, I don’t get much time to read outside my square but love to know it is out there.
    As much as I don’t like seeing all these charitable organisations start up and get lots of money, I think we have to play the same game.
    We have to get this out there. We have to jump up and down. We could make our own government funded newsletters, magazines and give them to all agencies dealing with children. We have to change the minds of the people that actually give a damn and work from the heart.
    Anyhow, I agree with the article and “Family First” “Family Second” and Third, Fourth, Fifth and so on. Mum, Dad and the kids. From the fact that we have lived this, we have to educate.

    While Government agencies are licking their wounds, we must exploit. Sounds horrible I know but we have to strike while the irons hot.

  3. PaulM says:

    I was just looking again at the article and see one thing that hasn’t changed; A reluctance to be truthful about the effect on kids of family units breaking up.
    While on the front cover the headline reads “Every Five Weeks A Child Is Killed By A Parent Or Caregiver”, that doesn’t quite accurately represent the story told inside.
    Eleven murdered children are named, along with their killers. One was killed by his father.One was killed by her mother. One was killed by her mother and stepfather. Five were killed by their stepfathers. One was killed by his foster-father, one by his ‘mother’s partner’ and one by her whole family.
    Each of these cases represents a horrific, shameful tragedy and they are the names of kids we have all seen in the news. However it doesn’t seem accurate to imply that biological parents are doing the murder and abuse, when in the great majority of cases it seems to be step-fathers, aided and abetted by the break-down in biological family units. There’s a story in there that needs to be told, if somone in the media would be game enough to pick it up.

  4. star says:

    if no one addresses/ listens then, there could be more incidents arising from desperate people.
    yeh i know i am morbid.

  5. julie says:

    star, not morbid, just real.

  6. Peter Burns says:

    Totally inept Government ministers argue that “it takes two to tango ” when openly endorsing the civil union bill, but fail to adopt this idea when talking about the family court brothel.It seems unfair that this present social engineering is totally at odds with what is contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.What gives this hateful bunch of misfits the right to disregard the fact that the family is the natural and group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. Feminazis are responsible for this tragedy and Miss Clark should be hung for endorsing child abuse . My advice to men get the hell out of this cess pit country as the childless bitch PM and her dumb arse cronies have destroyed this country and made it one of the most dangerous place in the world for vulnerable children and heartbroken Fathers. The silent media have blood on their vile hands too!!!

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