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Lifewise response to Minister of Children's vision

Lifewise response to Minister of Children's vision of fewer children in state care.


Alleluia! Lifewise completely endorses Minister Tracey Martin's vision of fewer children in state care.

In the annual update on Oranga Tamariki to Parliament's Social Services Committee, Ms Martin said, “It's going to be controversial, but I believe it's true to say that we have more children in care than we need because we don't have enough intensive intervention services. Intensive intervention can keep children in their homes, if we step in and walk alongside the families in a very intensive way.”

Lifewise fully supports the Minister’s view.

“If supporting struggling families to raise their own children is controversial, then we have started to look at things through the wrong lens,” says Lifewise CE Moira Lawler.

According to the Minister: “There are currently 6,000 children in state care, 60 per cent of whom are Māori. Nearly 100,000 children sit “between early and intensive intervention” meaning many will need some sort of help from Oranga Tamariki.”

Ms Lawler believes we should all be concerned about these figures.

“Lifewise is foster care providers and we do a great job with loving foster parents at keeping children safe and nurtured. But all the evidence suggests that this system is not our future – the damage done to children and whānau through the removal of children is deep and intergenerational. It’s time to acknowledge the impact of that on Māori whānau in particular,” says Lawler.

“Minister Martin has just said what families, particularly whānau, hapu and iwi have been waiting to hear.”

Lifewise is part of the Methodist Alliance and is passionate about keeping children and families together. They have been using their own resources to develop innovative ways to do this. One example is LIIPS – Lifewise Intensive In-Home Parenting Support.

“We have worked with families who had been told they would never have their children back again yet today they are parenting their own children safely and well. We are excited to hear the minister opening the door for this work,” says Lawler.

Lifewise believes every family with the right support can raise their own children. Families need support to remove the stressors that make it hard for them to think outside of survival mode.

“We are innovating in this space already and have been waiting for Oranga Tamariki to catch up. We can’t wait to start working with them to keep families together,” says Lawler.

-end-

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