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Ed Sheeran

Racist concept of family driving uplifts

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A group representing Māori psychologists has written an open letter calling for Children's Minister Tracey Martin to embed whānau ora principles into the way Oranga Tamariki works.

He Paiaka Tōtara says the legal structures that enable the uplift of Māori babies and children work incredibly well to serve the needs of Crown agencies and their representatives, but they don't serve the children and their whānau.

Member Ainsleigh Cribb-Su'a says there are many dedicated and committed people working for the ministry, but they don't have the clinical and cultural skills to make the right decisions.

That leads to the family courts making decisions based on sound bites from social workers without input from whānau.

"When you've got nearly 70 percent of the children in this country being removed being Māori, it says to us we have a racist system and we have a system and a society that is imposing racist paradigms over the way whānau is conceptualised in Aotearoa," Dr Cribb-Su'a says.

Oranga Tamariki's stated intention to put tamariki first won't be achieved by having one caring adult but needs to be done within a whānau-centred Kaupapa Māori process which ensures whānau remain at the centre.

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