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Children's Commissioner calls for baby uplift law repeal
Chikldren's Commissioner Andrew Becroft

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Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft has called for the immediate repeal of a law that allows for the removal of any subsequent child from mothers who have had a child taken by the child protection agency.

Commissioner Becroft says the practice review released yesterday by Oranga Tamariki into its attempt to uplift a 6-day-old baby from Hawke’s Bay Hospital describes a litany of failure at every step and is a damning indictment of inadequate social work practice.

While it details the situation for just one whānau, it’s unlikely it’s an isolated incident and the lessons learned should be used to bring about systemic change.

He says 2015 to 2018 there was a 33 percent increase in the removal of pēpē aged from 0-3 months, the majority of them Māori, which points significant structural racism in the care and protection system.

“Recommendations in the report must be implemented with urgency. These include the tightening of processes around the ‘subsequent child’ provisions introduced in 2015.

Commissioner Becroft says Oranga Tamariki must work more closely with whānau, hapū and iwi as it is required to do under law.

“An interim report by his office on what needs to change to ensure pēpē Māori can remain in the care of their whānau will be published early next year.

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