Justice for some…

5 replies on “Justice for some…”

Great work Emily Keddell.

Given the dismal and destructive practice revealed so clearly in the report, surely we must ask, “where is the accountability from the ‘once in a generation’ transformational change OT hierarchy?”

The role of child protection social work is to deliver the practice mandated by the law. This report shows that recent practice has not even come close to doing this. Much of it is truly gob-smacking.

How can we accept an “Oh dear, never mind, we’ll make it better” response? Is it because the people affected by this abusive practice have no social status, no respect and a lesser set of rights? I think Aaron Smale hit the nail with this recent opinion piece:

Re”How can we accept an “Oh dear, never mind, we’ll make it better” response? Is is because the people effected by this abusive practice have no social status, no respect and a lesser set of rights? ”
To date I see no genuine support programs for relinquishing parents in the NZ fostercare and adoption services regime. Unless the mothers and in rarer cases where family support networks actually support the mother rather than aid in the infant’s removal, actually recognize and face the reality they experienced and are prepared to speak out and create positive narratives for change nothing will change.
RSW must encourage this. A safe “truth and reconciliation project needs to be created. This is the way push-back has been created in other Anglophile countries – eg New Jersey [US]with a campaign to help people deal with coercive control in their lives, to catch and discipline perpetrators, and make the process visible to public scrutiny.
This is not going to happen within the NZ social services, and neither is the funding going to magically appear; due in part because “Inconvenient” motherhood, and Child removal has been given too big a footprint on our social and economic cohesion. Furthermore, the subject has also been politically utilized as a “dead cat on the table” response to social policy critique implemented to disrupt any cohesive responses to contentious public conversations on welfare provision and human rights.
Many of the mothers experiencing child uplift will be victims of domestic violence and coercive control by partners, family members, and others who have power over them; and have restricted control over their living situation and ability to make decisions. It is because abusers who choose our most vulnerable citizens face almost no consequences for their behavior. This is the primary reason I hear given by Social services commentary in support of newborn uplift.
The reality is that many members of the [voting]public see supporting economically stressed and abused mothers as a waste of resources, and public figures were not shy about reinforcing this position eg including such (wonderful) personalities like John Banks, who during his Mayoralty term used to broadcast abusive rants about solo Mums being entitled to DPB, over a public intercom in Krd in the 1980s, which instigated discrimination against women with young children in tow while they were doing their shopping in that location.

Many mothers who have this experience NEVER want to “go there” again, even to support others experiencing this process. The majority never recover mentally or physically from the experience.
We can stop it now by supporting funding of a independent wrap around service. One that employs lawyers, human rights experts, social workers and medical staff, mental health workers, and more importantly who are willing to help support and train people with life experience of child uplift to support others through the experience with the professionalism and compassion our mothers deserve.

Yet people, social workers and many others have accepted this form of practice for some time. I am not a social worker, but have led a service that sought to highlight and address this appalling and degrading practice for a few years and it all fell upon deaf ear? Why? I was until recently a leader in a NGO, I helped where I needed to, attending whanau hui, professionals hui, FGC and was simply aghast that the so called concerns were non-existent or poorly constructed yet time and time again resources were allocated and whanau were fractured through a process where no understanding of them or their situation was ever brought to light. It was as though a child was born and that the world should be perfect or whanau would, should be perfect. How could such a thing exist when in reality many whanau were disconnected, detached from whanau and experienced the day to day… get on with it. Get on with what? How do you form a connected whanau when we are unequal, when our worldview is not that of Pakeha and yet we have to work with a system that only recognises the individual, the pepi. And now, after the incident in Napier the lights have turned on. Come on, social justice, advocacy, fairness, equity…. aroha, manaaki, whanaungatanga, whakapapa… I do not profess to be anything other than human and time and time again I witnessed inhumane behaviour being placed upon the those who held very little power over themselves or their situations.

section 78 order do not have to be made in favour of the chief executive of OT, but can be applied for for a family member

if family conversations happen well prior to any pending birth, needs of both child & parent/s can be considered by family member. Meaning any baby is secured & safe while a longer view is considered by family. Such things as what needs to happen that will most likely to lead to a family centered solution

planning well before birth will put in place support and actions to meet baby’s needs, parent/s needs, family hopes and solutions – then there is clearly no need for a section 78 application to be made. If there is a need for orders to ensure a baby’s wellbeing is secured there are a range of other legal options to do this where identified family members can be involved in ensure baby is safe, parent/s supported to have the best relationship they can have with their child

the question to be answered – have appropriate people been involved, and in a timely manner

all very well to have a legislation requiring action under pinned by great purposes and principles (sections 4 & 5) , and is specific about duties (eg section 7AA) but if these are ignored – well it’s clear it is time for a change in legislation. Such as mandating organisations such as Iwi authorities to oversee any application to Family Court for OT Act orders

Kia ora Emily,

Thank you for spelling it out so clearly. While I understood it to be bad, these statistics, laid out in such a clear way is indeed gob-smacking, as Ian has noted.

If this was any other organisation, with statistics such as these that literally speak to emotional, mental and spiritual pain and suffering the hierarchy would have been removed and an overhaul, led by related practitioners would have commenced.

Ian is right to question if the reason for no action is because the people being affected have ‘no social status, no respect and a lesser set of rights’.

What I do not understand is how, and why, this organisation and the people who run it are not held to account? Why are they / it being protected over people who are being systematically abused?

We cannot give up fighting this system of abuse.

True accountability MUST prevail

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