‘Totalitarian’ Approach To Child Abuse Rejected

Media Release 14 December 2017
Family First NZ is labelling calls by the Coroner – who investigated the death of Moko Rangitoheriri – that all children should be registered from birth and monitored until the age of 5 as ‘totalitarian’, paranoid, naïve, and a waste of time and resources. A similar proposal was made in 2006 by the Children’s Commissioner to track children from birth, and rightly rejected.

“The Coroner rightly wants all children to be safe, nurtured, educated and healthy, but monitoring every child that is born is an extreme example of the nanny state. The research has already been done on the risk factors for a child. The issue is whether we are willing to accept them, and then tackle them. Senior social workers correctly say that widening the safety-net as a ‘silver bullet’ is a naïve response that has the potential to destabilise families and create an overburdened system that fails to respond appropriately to at-risk families,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The other concern is about how far this ‘check’ invades into the choices and privacy of good families. Who gets to decide what is best for children? It will be the state and the morass of bureaucracy that is going to surround this type of initiative. The government would be the third parent in every family. It is a licence for ‘professionals’ to interfere in families’ lives when there is no crime and no abuse.”

A similar proposal in Scotland last year was dismissed because it risked breaching important regulations protecting privacy and confidentiality and could result in disproportionate interference with the right to a family and private life.

“This proposal would fundamentally alter the relationship between the family and the state. It gives the state more power at the expense of good parents and families who should be left alone and the sooner it is abandoned the better,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“This proposal will simply distract our frontline services from targeting and monitoring at-risk children and rotten parents, which is where the real focus should be.”

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