Iwi leaders express concern over proposed changes to placement of vulnerable children

Iwi leaders have joined Dame Tariana Turia in expressing their disappointment over the Minister of Social Development’s proposed changes to the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act (CYPF Act).

The Minister has proposed a number of changes to the CYPF Act which includes the removal from the Act that consideration must always be given to how a decision affecting a child or young person will affect the stability of that child's or young persons family, whānau, hapū, iwi and family groups.

According to the Co-Chairs of the Whānau Ora Iwi Leadership Group, this is the “wrong move and sets a path that may see our tamariki removed from their culture.”

Rahui Papa says, “Our children, where possible, must be supported in their own cultural context.”

“Removing them to families and carers who simply don't understand their heritage creates further issues for these tamariki in the long term.”

The Minister claims that the system will be moving to a more child-centred approach and the suggestion to remove the principle from the act, “more closely reflects a child centred approach as stability is still considered but from the point of view of the child or young person.”

Naida Glavish says “At the Hopuhopu Iwi Chairs Forum, many Iwi Chairs signed a Kawenata to protect our young ones.”

“The Government must work with Iwi to provide solutions that support the physical, spiritual and cultural wellbeing of our mokopuna.”

Papa and Glavish say they are also disappointed that the Minister made a ‘unilateral decision withut substantive or direct consultation with teh Whaanau Ora Partnership Group.’

According to Tolley, ““The current system is not meeting the needs of vulnerable children, and this new legislation will underpin two important aspects of the new operating model - early intensive intervention and improved care support services, with the views of children an integral part of the process.”