Media Release 3 August 2018
Family First NZ says that Judge Kevin Phillips has honourably taken responsibility for the consequences of bailing a teenager who went on to commit a serious assault on a young woman. The Judge also raised concerns relating to the multiple State Care placements the teenager had been in whilst in care.
“Sadly, far too many children and youth placed in Oranga Tamariki (previously named CYF) care, are continually being bounced between placements. What will surprise many people, are the actual reasons why,” said Mel Taylor, spokesperson for Family First, and specialist caregiver for 16 years of high at-risk teenage boys.
“More and more children needing to be placed with O.T Caregivers, have serious behavioural and mental health issues. As years progress, the high at-risk behaviours continue to come out, and one reason for children being placed in multiple homes is simply because caregivers are not equipped to deal with these behaviours. All too often, caregivers and their own children are placed at risk from young people with Foetal Alcohol and/or Foetal Drug issues.
“With teenagers in state care, the reasons for multiple placements are quite different. It is usually attributed to them being kicked out of multiple placements. Very rarely do I hear of youth being removed because of concerns about the caregiver. Many of the youth we have cared for have had multiple placements due to their high-risk behaviours, such as violence, drugs, constant running away, destruction of the caregiver’s home, false allegations against the caregiver, etc. It is at the caregiver’s request that a youth is removed, for the safety of all. I am also aware that a lot of the placement breakdowns we have seen have been from youth placed into Whanau Care.”
“As a specialist caregiver, we are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Governments over many years have only wanted more ambulances. Government must start addressing the root causes for why we have so many children and youth in care in the first place – causes such as break down of the family unit.”
“Because there are sadly so many children in care, the Government must ensure that all measures are taken to provide the best possible care and outcomes. For this to occur, there must be accountability by way of urgently implementing an independent Complaints Authority for Oranga Tamariki. This would ensure that good parents, families and caregivers are protected, that caregivers and Oranga Tamariki are both protected and held accountable, and that at-risk children and youth are receiving the best stable and loving care possible.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says “The easiest way to look at this is at any given time we have roughly 5000 children in state care, and for all intents and purposes we’re the parent. The state is the parent of that child.”
“Unfortunately, these ‘Government parents’ are failing not only their children, but their own hired helpers, and need to step up and start being held accountable.”