Is there a right to be a parent

June 7th, 2012 at 8:58 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

There has been a political backlash to Cabinet considering tougher measures to remove babies from abusive parents, but Prime Minister John Key insists the country needs to face up to an “uncomfortable conversation” about .

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett yesterday said Cabinet had discussed allowing courts to issue warnings to parents during sentencing that they faced having subsequent children taken off them, potentially permanently.

“At the moment, [abusive parents] could live with or have future children and it would be taken on its merits at that point. We actually don’t even do that with dogs that have been abused – there can be a sanction put on that you cannot own a dog for two years or five years, yet we don’t do that with children,” Bennett said.

“So we are looking at measures like should you not be able to live in the house with children or work with children if you have been at that serious end of abuse or neglect.”

I do not support sterilisation of child abusers, because in no way can you have the state subject someone to a surgical procedure against their will.

However I think there is a place for a court to be able to make a ruling that if a child abuser gets pregnant again, the child is automatically removed from them at birth.

At present CYFS can get court orders for custody of new born babies, but as I understand it they have to find out about the pregnancy and get a specific order.

The benefit of what is being proposed, is certainity. If a child abuser has such a history of neglect that clearly no future child is safe with them – then they are left under no misapprehension that they will never be allowed to look after a child again. This provides them with an incentive to not get pregnant, if they know that the child is removed at birth.

Such a sanction should be only for the worst child abusers – but it should be there. The rights of a child to be safe trump those of the mother.

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43 Responses to “Is there a right to be a parent”

  1. hmmokrightitis (1,552 comments) says:

    The majority of child abusers DON’T get pregnant DPF. What about them? How will we handle them?

    Yes, wonderful intent, protect children etc, but making it a practical workable reality?

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  2. mikenmild (11,159 comments) says:

    It doesn’t seem at all clear exactly what the government is proposing. Sterilisation seems to have been mentioned, then ruled out. What seems to be envisaged is some kind of judicial warning that future children may be seized at birth. Seeing CYFS already has that power, what exactly is going to change?

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  3. m@tt (601 comments) says:

    At the very first lightest blush this appears to have some legitimacy, but with even a cursory look beyond the headline you begin to see the gaping holes. As pointed out above and by many others this is a policy directed squarely at the female who gets pregnant who is seldom the abuser.
    What happens when this is used and the person in question does get preganant? A back alley abortion? She goes to ground and has the baby at home?

    And as for “This provides them with an incentive to not get pregnant, if they know that the child is removed at birth”. If you were actually talking about someone who is a serial child abuser what makes you think they would follow this line of logic? And again, if it’s the male that’s the problem why would he give a shit?

    How about we demand to see some figures from the study they are basing this plan on, presuming one exists. Just how many female abusers of their own children have been caught, convicted and punished then gone on to re-abuse their own child after subsequent births?

    This is a plan flawed in almost every detail apart from the nice juicy headline

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  4. Nigel (514 comments) says:

    This stuff scares me I have to say, the potential for abuse of state power is very real & I think such things as removing children from parents should be hard to achieve.
    Protecting our children is critical and making it a bit easier for CYFS has some merit, but I really don’t like at all the direction this is all going, we should be pouring effort into prevention ( Plunket etc ) not crap like 3 strikes & auto removal of children.
    Now making a rule that an offender has to go through some testing similar concept to Parole with associated education before being allowed to retain a child, that has some merit, but I really really dislike automatic consequences like this, people change, circumstances change & laws/justice systems need to be flexible enough to reflect that in my view.

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  5. mikenmild (11,159 comments) says:

    Maybe it’s just a deliberate distraction from the education mess.

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  6. jims_whare (399 comments) says:

    The rights of a child to be safe trump those of the mother.

    Heh – typical liberal hypocrisy.

    Prior to birth its all about the rights of the mother to kill her unborn child if she wants to (foetus if you wish)

    However at birth or afterwards its all about the rights of the child.

    What has changed to make this 2nd class foetus with no rights suddenly into a cherished child that needs all the protection of the law apart from time and development……..pure hypocrisy.

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  7. Andrei (2,527 comments) says:

    Why do the elite want to seize children – there is a point they want to prove.
    http://www.quid-deinde.falfn.com/page.php?post=P_1338964959

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  8. hmmokrightitis (1,552 comments) says:

    Oh god andrei, is that really the best youve got?

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  9. wreck1080 (3,779 comments) says:

    Surely the majority of parents have smacked their kids at one time or another.

    This makes most parents out to be child abusers in the eyes of the law (and sue bradford)

    I’d possibly support this, if the anti-smacking law was fixed.

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  10. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    “The rights of a child to be safe trump those of the mother.”

    Unless you’re unborn. And then we don’t even want to talk about it.

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  11. RRM (9,587 comments) says:

    The intentions of this may be worthy.

    But never forget this: CYFS is staffed and run by childless, clueless 22 year old girls with brand-new Bachelors’ Degrees in Social Work from the University of Fluffy Bunnies.

    [I have already described my own experience of them on KB at least a couple of times, I'm sure searching the site for RRM + CYFS would find it all, if anybody is interested.]

    A frightening amount of power is already vested in these semi-competent little storm-in-a-b-cup type individuals. The last thing anybody needs is a radical expansion of their powers to take people’s children away and ruin lives, when these people are not even smart enough to get simple things right like making phone calls and keeping appointments. These are the people doing the investigations and making the calls about whether to take people’s children away, and many of them are simply not good enough to do that job.

    In response to the original question: HELL YES there’s a right to have babies – unless you want to argue along the lines that that there’s no right to breathe and therefore we should all be grateful that our betters like Mr Key grant us our daily air…?

    If the State wants to take people’s children away from them, then the State had better make a VERY good case for doing so. And the state can damn well make the case again each time, for each baby. Any lesser standard than that risks looking a bit fascist IMHO.

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  12. wreck1080 (3,779 comments) says:

    http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2012/06/appeal-court-rescues-honest-mum-from-anti-smacking-law/

    Also, there is that guy from last year who smacked his child. I didn’t think he deserved a conviction having read the circumstances of his very difficult child.

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  13. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Whats wrong with the long term jab in the arse contraceptive? She turns up if she wants any state help and presents her butt….simple. Professional hookers do it as a safeguard….why not these birds? Its temporary and easy.

    And no…there is no right to be a parent.

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  14. Yvette (2,735 comments) says:

    How many cases have there been recently where a current partner abuses and kills the ‘step’ child, will this mean the mother will have any subsequent children removed?

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  15. nasska (10,821 comments) says:

    ‘hmmokrightitis ” & ‘Yvette’ have both pointed out that the greatest danger comes from a woman’s current partner. In not a few of these cases the mother has aided & abetted the abuse by turning a blind eye or supporting the POS doing the damage to the child.

    I fail to see how they are any less culpable than the abuser.

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  16. Cunningham (827 comments) says:

    Yvette (1,942) I don’t think it would be used all the time. That stupid bitch who smothered her child is a prime candidate. She has had all her children taken away from her (and 1 killed by her). Why should she have the right to raise more children? How many more children have to be mistreated by this horrible women? I can see it being used but only in extereme cases.

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  17. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    this is total dog-whistle distraction bullshit..

    ..as others have already noted..the state already has more than enough powers to remove children…

    ..phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  18. Bradoc (1 comment) says:

    One of the alarming problems that would arise if the state ‘confiscated’ babies of these mothers at birth would be what could be done with them! Foster them out? That has been shown to have a poor outcome in too many cases. Adoption? That, too, is fraught with problems as it has also been shown that many of the babies of smoking, alcoholic, drug taking (perm any combination of these!) mothers suffer from pre-natal brain damage which has lifelong implications. At least one American study has shown that these infants eventually make up a disproportionate number of the prison population.
    Prevention – if it can be achieved – is by far the best option.

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  19. Rufus (626 comments) says:

    Agree with RRM 9:40.

    The State better have a very good reason. Every time. Make it a hard for them to take children away. I do not trust the state.

    As for David’s headline – “is there a right to be a parent?” – yes, if you are gay there is – it’s a hooman right, donchaknow.

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  20. Don the Kiwi (1,633 comments) says:

    I recall Reagan quoting from a previous president.

    “The most frightening words you will hear – ‘ We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you’.”

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  21. Chuck Bird (4,725 comments) says:

    Yvette,that should depend on if the mother allowed let the abuse go on. Tania Witika was convicted of manslaughter because she allowed the abuse to go on. She has had another child 2008.

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  22. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    RRM.

    This proposed measure will not apply to CYFS. This measure is a judicial measure, so that, if a person is convicted of serious child abuse or the killing of a child, a judgement can be made to the future suitability of that person to care for future offspring.

    In animal cruelty offences, we routinely ban offenders from having pets in the future. The same consideration should be applied to children born into a situation that presents a danger to that child. It then becomes the responsibility of the parent to prove his or her competence as a parent.

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  23. Rick Rowling (821 comments) says:

    How about you give mothers the same rights as fathers regarding access to their kids?

    As soon as someone reports any alleged abuse, the parent involved is removed from any access to their kids until they can prove they are innocent.

    “The safety of the children must come first.”

    ===

    *ducks for cover
    **also doesn’t actually know that much about fathers’ rights, apart from what’s in the media

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  24. RRM (9,587 comments) says:

    Slightly – true.

    I wonder why we don’t just jail people for seriously abusing or killing children?

    You’d think that would be ample to prevent them abusing more children, PLUS we don’t have to have an ugly law on the books about taking kids off people BEFORE they get a chance to abuse them.

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  25. Alan Wilkinson (1,838 comments) says:

    This becomes an unpleasant contest between two entirely untrustworthy parties: the State and bad people/parents.

    I say shift the responsibility to private enterprise. Tender out the management of these people to the private sector.

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  26. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Sensible move. Seems to be annoying all the right people. Well done.

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  27. Kokila Patel (12 comments) says:

    There is not really a backlash. According to the NZ Herald poll asking the question “Should the courts have the power to ban child abusers and killers from having more kids?” 71% have ticked “Yes – it makes sense”

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  28. hj (6,593 comments) says:

    Eugenics keeps getting raised and reference to Hitler. Hitler saw the Jews as a whole as requiring extermination for the betterment of society. he also exterminated people with downs syndrome and schizophrenics, gypsy’s etc. I’m not sure about eugenics, but people in the western world haven’t faced true hardship and starvation. In primitive societies people practised infanticide and gave the oldies a push when they were no use. One thing that is clear from many on the left and the right is that they assume plenty. On the right: growth is always possible and on the left: there is plenty but the rich are hoarding the wealth. But what if?

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  29. hj (6,593 comments) says:

    Kokila Patel (9) Says:

    There is not really a backlash. According to the NZ Herald poll asking the question “Should the courts have the power to ban child abusers and killers from having more kids?” 71% have ticked “Yes – it makes sense”
    ======================
    Ah! but that’s why we need the better people in politics to counteract those poor souls who know no better! :wink:

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  30. mara (744 comments) says:

    Much as I hate child abuse, I fear total Govt. control more. In a “free” society damaged children will have to continue being colateral damage. All we can hope to do is minimise it by means other than totalitarian. Sterilising abusing fuckwits does appeal on a gutteral level but I feel we must not allow it.

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  31. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Much as I hate child abuse, I fear total Govt. control more. In a “free” society damaged children will have to continue being colateral damage. All we can hope to do is minimise it by means other than totalitarian. Sterilising abusing fuckwits does appeal on a gutteral level but I feel we must not allow it.

    How do you feel about locking abusing fuckwits in jail for the rest of their lives? That’s making them not “free”. This isn’t about going around and sterilising the average joe, it’s about people who constantly create kids for themselves and others to abuse. It should be stopped.

    And for those trying to talk about abortion… Listen. It’s not killing a child, it’s a bunch of cells. The pictures your church shows you of late term abortions with tools pulling out sections of baby arms are not how it works in real life. We need more abortions to prevent child abuse.

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  32. LabourDoesntWork (286 comments) says:

    Fascism – always the left’s solution to a problem.
    Those who think this is the answer to child abuse should consider that the failure of individuals to take responsibility for themselves, and their children, is what leads to uncontrolled government in the first place. The political class is again demonstrating the necessity of limited government.

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  33. KevinH (1,141 comments) says:

    @DPF said:

    “Such a sanction should be only for the worst child abusers – but it should be there. The rights of a child to be safe trump those of the mother”

    That statement is entirely correct and is to be considered when draughting the legislation. Regretfully serious abusers have more children and those children need to be protected immediately from birth therefore the path to travel in this debate is not about the extreme measures but the legal measures that protect the child.

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  34. hj (6,593 comments) says:

    I recall a discussion on ‘ZB about Rufus marsh who raped a woman and killed her with a brick. John Blumpskey said “well of course they should put him in jail and throw away the key…. but ooooh the upbringing he had!” and reading in the North and South article that his partner wanted to have his baby.
    Yesterday on the panel David Slack compares paula bennets suggestion to Hitler and again more resources to deal with it and we have to consider “the background”……

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  35. hj (6,593 comments) says:

    73% For RNZ Poll (same as herald)

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  36. mara (744 comments) says:

    KevinH … “and those children need to be protected immediately FROM birth …. ” My caps. We know that any number of children are stuffed to varying degrees BEFORE and during birth from maternal drug/alcohol/crap diet/etc issues. Careful middle class women strive for peak PRE-conception health. How far is it really practicable for society to protect all children? We may lament the underclass’s reproductive practices and outcomes but is it economically prudent to intervene to the extent that a better outcome would be achieved? Could we even afford it? Dunno. Just wondering.

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  37. Mark (1,403 comments) says:

    It is interesting to see the reaction to this announcement by Bennett from both the Maori Party and Peter Dunn. Both have expressed serious reservations about the proposal. it raises an interesting question about the policy making process and the consultation that does not seem to be happening now with the Government’s partners. Dunn has been fairly unequivocal that he will not support this policy as it has been reported.

    I do not see what Bennett’s proposal achieves over and above what the current law provides. The current law is adequate, works well and provides the powers necessary to protect children born in such circumstances. Already child services can advise a child abuser that they will be seeking and order to remove any future children. The fact that that process has to be scrutinised by the Courts based on the circumstances at the time has to be seen as a good thing not an impediment. I would hate to see such judicial safeguards abandoned. We have first hand experience of this process and it works. (One of our children was taken from the birth mother in exactly these circumstances). It is tough, emotional and often complex but the courts apply a great deal of common sense and experience that I would not like to see transferred into the hands of a bureaucrat even if the courts did provide some form of prior blanket order.

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  38. Mark (1,403 comments) says:

    But never forget this: CYFS is staffed and run by childless, clueless 22 year old girls with brand-new Bachelors’ Degrees in Social Work from the University of Fluffy Bunnies.
    :) :)

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  39. hj (6,593 comments) says:

    ” it raises an interesting question about the policy making process and the consultation that does not seem to be happening now with the Government’s partners. Dunn has been fairly unequivocal that he will not support this policy as it has been reported.”
    ……………..
    The consultation process is that they get ministerial roles and a few deals (Foreshore and seabed)

    Not sure about Holy-Dunne since he is a shill for the tobaco alcohol and realestate industries.
    Perhaps he saw a sector that would boost his votes?
    http://www.journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/118-1226/1765/content.pdf

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  40. hj (6,593 comments) says:

    Or, perhaps Mr Dunne should come with a warning label?
    http://www.journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/118-1226/1765/content.pdf

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  41. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    Mark (596) Says:
    June 7th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Not according to some of the people I’ve supported over the last 14 yrs as they’ve dealt with them.
    Some they dealt with were feminazis or socialistas and others just plain don’t like people of faith.

    Wish they were more fluffy bunny types but then thinking about what they do see, I doubt it.

    Anyway the issue is should some people be allowed to have kids?
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/melinda_gates_talks_eugenics.html
    These people have an opinion.

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  42. OneTrack (2,731 comments) says:

    “The rights of a child to be safe trump those of the mother.”

    I wish people would stop saying this because, in reality, in Aotearoa 2012, it is simply not true. The response to Bennett and many of the comments here prove it.

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  43. HB (288 comments) says:

    “But never forget this: CYFS is staffed and run by childless, clueless 22 year old girls with brand-new Bachelors’ Degrees in Social Work from the University of Fluffy Bunnies.”

    The ones I have dealt with in my job are useless.
    they will agree that something must be done and then proceed to do nothing – leaving the poor kids in dangerous and neglectful ‘homes’
    Kids will go through the whole scary process of ‘narking’ on their parents and nothing changes.

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