Kids once again first in fall-out . . .

Many of us will have read the NZ Herald article dated 27th August 2015 which covered a new initiative from the Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills. The article was titled ‘Our Shame: How we are failing our kids”, which revealed some very damning statistics on the quality of care that Child, Youth and Family provided for foster children in state care from 2013 - 2014.

In order to find the link for those of you taking the time to read this blog, I googled the reporter of this particular article, Simon Collins, who writes on social issues at the Herald. As I scrolled down the page, a dismal array of titles assaulted my eyes: ‘CYF reforms can’t come soon enough’, ‘Horrifying report into child abuse’, ‘Child abuse numbers increase dreadful’ … and on it went. (Kudos, by the way, to Simon and others who continue to put this in front of our noses so that we cannot even try to pretend ignorance of this issue).

Once again I felt nausea in the pit of my stomach that our beautiful Aotearoa has such an ugly problem; a problem which is so insidious and devastating in its outworkings that the government cannot hope to pull it out by the roots no matter how much money is thrown at it … because it involves people’s intrinsic beliefs and values.

What is the justification for treating another, smaller, more vulnerable human being this way? “That’s how I was treated”, “It is just normal where I come from”, “I was under a lot of stress at the time”. These are all reasons – but they are not in any way justifiable.

I often talk to friends and family about the absurdly paradoxical situation we find ourselves in where our teenagers have to jump through increasingly demanding hoops to obtain a driver’s license (and I have no complaints here, by the way!) yet pretty much anyone can become a parent and not ever have to step foot over the threshold of a community centre or school hall to attend a parenting course if they are not motivated to do so.

There is no free and readily available course for caregivers and parents such as:

‘Parenting 101 - Learn to look after a baby by sacrificing your own desires and needs for theirs, giving up a social life and providing consistent care 24/7.’ (Free manual and instructional DVD included - Follow-up care provided). I just so wish there was.

My parting gift is a challenge of sorts, to each of us, courtesy of one of my all-time favourites,

Dr Seuss.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

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© 2015 Rose Stanley.  All rights reserved.