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Predictive Risk Observational Study

Predictive Risk Observational Study

Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) is concerned about the potential for a proposed study on new born children to go awry unless the paramountcy principle of commitment to the Care and Protection of Children is upheld. This commitment means that the interests and welfare of children are paramount at all times and will be the prime consideration when decisions are made affecting the wellbeing of children and young people.

“Given this is the guiding vision for all recent decisions regarding children including the Green Paper, the White Paper, the Vulnerable Children Act and Children’s Action Plan, social service providers would hope that this is not lost sight of as we progress towards ensuring a safer environment for our tamariki”, says SSPA National Manager Tara D’Sousa

SSPA is heartened by Hon Minister Anne Tolley’s opposition to the study which runs the risk of non-intervention when children are in a situation of potential harm in order to check an abuse-predictor tool.

While research into predictors of abuse is valuable and a valid effort at abuse-prevention, the ethics of using predictive-risk modelling tools must be rigorously assessed in order to ensure that families and children are not exposed to further risk or to inappropriate stigmatisation.

Natural justice and the Bill of Rights must apply so that all families, even those pre-disposed to risk, have hope that they might make necessary changes to their lives in order to keep their children safe. SSPA supports an approach underpinned by a belief in the human spirit and capacity to reform and rehabilitate; people can and do change with support.


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