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Maori Council to make a move on care and protection of kids

The New Zealand Maori Council is launching a new campaign to highlight the number of Maori Children in State Care and the increasing numbers who are being abused. Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of Council has said its time to have an accounting of where things are at and why things are so wrong when it comes to Maori Children:

“This new campaign is going to bring some home truths to the debate and the narrative around what is happening with our tamariki in State Care. The reality is that of the 220 that were abused in State Care last year 70.1% of them were our children. More than half of all children in care are Maori and the truth is we seem to be seeing an increase in the rapidity of those being taken into care.” Tukaki has said

“The major and fundamental concern Council has is we are heading down the slippery path of compounding intergenerational trauma by way of amassing an entire “stolen generation” of children from their whanau.” Tukaki has said, referencing the number of Aboriginal children who were forcibly removed or taken into care by authorities.

“The first part of the campaign is to draw more of the reality into the public domain in respect of the numbers – we need all of our people to know what is happening. The second part of the campaign is to highlight the things that need to change and how we can best support our Treaty Partners to enact change and the third part of the campaign will be to clearly assess and benchmark performance of the Agency against the development criteria we are currently building.” Tukaki has said

“This includes looking at solutions around prevention, intensive intervention and postvention – just as we need to stop our kids entering the system we also need to ensure if they are already there, we need to stop them from returning. That includes looking at new models of Whanau and kin care, the better use of community resources around the care and protection of children as well as the increasing narrative of whanau centric solutions.” Tukaki said

“What we also need to do is look at a national workforce development plan that takes account of the role of Government agencies and service delivery agencies – but chief among what needs to change is an independent advocate an guardian of Maori Children and the establishment of a new Maori Children’s Commissioner. We need to make sure that someone is independent of the Agency in order to give Maori faith and trust in the system that many believe is not for us but against us.” Tukaki said.

“Importantly we as people, we as whanau, must have honest conversations about what is happening in our own homes. We need to do more when it comes to whanau and domestic violence, we must do more to rid drugs and violence from our whare and we need to stop talking about aroha and show more of it to our tamariki and rangatahi.” Tukaki said

“Just as we hold the Crown and the Government to account so must we hold ourselves to account. It is time on this issue, as the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care gets underway to throw open the doors of our whare’s and let the truth flow through – in doing so, lets move forward with the single focus of the care and protection of our children led by Maori, for Maori and governed by Maori.” Tukaki said.

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