Section 59 and Foster Children

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Jim Mora on The Panel (note: audit link) yesterday spoke with with Mike Williams (Labour President) and Graham Bell (ex. cop). They spoke about the concerns of foster parents, raised earlier today in other media.It sheds some light on the issue, and makes a point that we have always made – that the new legal framework puts far more power in the hands of children than parents. This is then resulting in people choosing to avoid what was already an increasingly risky proposition – caring for troubled children.

Interview transcribed below.

Jim: … does this make sense to you panel?

Mike Williams: It does make a lot of sense to me and it seems to be that it could… um, if this is a problem a) they don’t’ tell us any numbers, is this two people have dropped out of 8 people, or, you know, 200 out of 800 – what is it, we don’t know. [actually, they said at least 10, so Mike is playing with the truth here just a little – S1] But it seems to me that you do not need to smack children to bring them up, I’m sure Jim you do not smack your own beautiful children and these people need training and that’s what should be offered to them.

Jim: I suppose so, … a lot of parents talk about this, we all hear people up and down the country discuss this and especially in the wake of the recent warning in Christchurch where that bloke was given a warning for ostensibly, ostensibly flicking his son on the head – isn’t that precisely the kind of trivial breach of the law that we were told would be more or less ignored?

Graham Bell: That’s right, and I said when this thing came out that it was just totally pointless, ill conceived, and was going to create problems, and was not going to stop the ill-treatment or murder of one child – it’s not going to prevent anything. These things have continued, there’s been another couple in Auckland since the, ah, this year, the bill is ill-conceived, a waste of time and it’s having more bad effects than good ones.

Jim: I take your point too mike and Allysa, and we’ll get her on in a minute and there’s a quote from her:

“These kids are really hard. They just don’t care who they hurt, and you need really special people to take them on. If you have a kid that is yelling and screaming at you, what are you supposed to do?”

Jim: So she’s talking about life at the coal face, and she joins, Allysa Carberry joins us now. Good Afternoon Allysa.

Allysa Carberry: Hi

Jim: So how bad is it, I mean, Mike Williams says how many people involved.. in your experience have left the whole area because of the new law?

Allysa: [points out that she was interviewed on a different topic]

Jim: nevertheless you do hold those beliefs do you?

Allysa: Ah, it’s the fear of being charged should you need to restrain a child or place a child in care, in time out. That’s a real fear. But there’s also, you know, caregivers are also leaving because of the statements that Brian Perkins made, about being dissatisfied with Child Youth and Family. So it’s not just one issue of why they’re leaving. Yes section, the repeal of section 59 is there in the background, but it’s a whole number of topics of why they’re leaving.

Jim: Hm, all right, so the headline “Anti-smacking worries push foster parents out” how accurate a reflection of your views and observations Allysa is that headline?

Allysa: The anti-smacking, it’s got nothing to do with anti-smacking as it states caregivers have never been allowed to smack foster-children.

Jim: [cautiously]Officially

Allysa: Officially [hard to describe the tone here – high I guess. One gets the impression that Allysa knows it happens and needs to happen sometimes] Um, they’ve never been allowed to do that but there have been kids, children in care that have been needed to be restrained because they were going to hurt themselves or others, and that’s… a real… fear that’s a really good possibility of it happening………

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