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Govt u-turn on CYFs Bill requires vigilance

The Government has realised that the revamping of CYF legislation affecting the children, needs to provide greater assurance that all care options including kin-care were being considered, says Labour Spokesperson for Whanau Ora Nanaia Mahuta

“The Social Services Select Committee has been hearing submissions on the Children, Young Person and their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill.

“There has been widespread concern amongst Māori that the Bill limits the opportunity for whanau care placements and there is a presumption that a safety first policy is inconsistent with kin-care placement.

“Clearly this is not true. But there are broader issues that need to be taken into account to provide for long-term, loving, care options for vulnerable children.

“By going back to the drawing board the Government has accepted that this is more than a simple matter of drafting and that the fundamental policy affecting vulnerable children and successfully integrating them into a supportive care pathway is essential.

“The Children’s Commissioner has been a strong advocate for children and youth and rightly points out that matters affecting placement decisions, supporting carers and providing culturally appropriate social work support are all part of a response which needs to be improved.

“Labour supports culturally appropriate care and placement models that seek to ensure safety of the child and secure lifetime opportunities that will help children to flourish despite their circumstances.

“The Government needs to be clear that this is not just a legislative drafting issue but rather a revamp of the Government’s role to support better care options for vulnerable children – and certainly with whanau factored in, rather than out, of the solution,” says Nanaia Mahuta.