CYF reforms “risk another Stolen Generation”

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The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi supports the decision by the Māori Women’s Welfare League to take a Treaty of Waitangi claim calling for a halt to the reforms to Child Youth and Family and shares the concerns that have led them to take this step.

“From the start, there has been a lack of meaningful engagement with Maori about the reforms,” PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

“Our members in Child Youth and Family have held grave concerns about the removal of the ‘whānau first’ preference, and the desire for rapid permanent placements.

“Removing tamariki permanently from their whanau will sever their connection with their culture – and it risks a return to the ‘stolen generations’ of the 1950s and 1960s.

“The landmark Puao-te-Ata-tu report detailed the dire consequences of severing a tamariki’s links with culture, language and ancestry.

“We agree with the League that the government’s lack of proper support for the recommendations of Puao-te-Ata-tu is not a reason to abandon them altogether.”

A number of senior Māori leaders and social work academics have expressed concern about the impact permanent removal will have on tamariki.

The Māori Women’s Welfare League argues the lack of consultation breaches the Crown’s Treaty obligations to genuine partnership consultation with Māori.

“Puao-te-Ata-tu remains a taonga and a platform from which a true partnership could be developed,” Mr Barclay says.

“While the Tribunal hears this claim, we urge the government to listen to the League, to social workers and to the tangata whenua – and call a halt to these reforms.”