Podcast on poverty, child protection and the state

The RSW’s Ian Hyslop has appeared on a 95bFM podcast:

Poverty child, protection and the state: What needs to change?

Ian discusses the dominant narrative and some alternatives: social workers can advocate for political solutions and practice development that combats structural disadvantage and supports child and whānau centred practice. Have a listen – tell us what you think!

Image credit: Seb Lee-Delisle

3 replies on “Podcast on poverty, child protection and the state”

Thankyou for that Ian, you presented the circumstances for New Zealanders concisely in a way that hopefully will provide insight to incentivize people who have become enmeshed in swallowing the seductive “child rescue” movement’s welfare propaganda ‘kool aid” and seek more insight and act (vote) to bring us out of the “child rescue”policies. As an aside, have you seen – the film “Lion”- now sceening at the New Lynn theater complex? I think it raises more questions than answers when viewed from the perspective your interview here presents.

That was awesome Ian! I especially liked your comments on what the middle class nz thinks of as “dangerous Maori parents”, or as Micheal Laws puts it the “feral families”.

I am curious on your thoughts as to how we can best push back against this dominant neoliberal ideology that consumes our systems and create a more just and equal society in nz? It seems to me (being a student so excuse my naivety here!) that this “personal responsibility” mentality runs so deep now in our country; I want to fight it, and I will, but how do we best do this?

Thanks for your comments Jane / Reese – yes raising awareness is one thing and getting people engaged in forms of political action is another but these two things do go together! The first thing is holding to the belief that change happens and that more just forms of human society are possible. Social work could and should do more than the dirty work of neoliberalism. We can’t build a new world overnight but we also have more power than we realize. We can always lay a few bricks – call me old fashioned.

The fact that our work involves listening and learning from the experience of ‘ordinary people’, rather than simply applying assessment instruments to them, means that there is always a possibility of subversion in the air – why else are social workers so tightly controlled? – get close to the poor but don’t ‘go native’ is often the mandate – as Iain Ferguson put it ( I think).

I like to think that by acting in the world/s of those we work with and for, we come to see the barriers people face and the possibilities for systemic / structural change. Peoples lives are influenced not merely by notions of choice but by the out-workings larger social and economic mechanisms that create profit and luxury for some citizens and marginalize so many others.

I don’t pretend to have ll the answers by any stretch – ( and that part of the point – social work is about social change, not about us as social ‘experts’) – unions are important / solidarity / local action / communication / alliances – analysis that doesn’t accept neoliberal capitalism as the only game in town, identifies it as a system of exploitation and imagines / builds alternatives.

In pushing back we find strength. Worth remembering that feelings of hopelessness and cynicism reinforce the hegemony of the powerful. Worth noting too that medals aren’t awarded for dissent and finally worth remembering to have a laugh once in a while Reese – good for the soul. Best I can do at short notice – Ian


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