Tell us the histories

The Herald reports:

A mother whose baby was taken into state care because of child abuse concerns says she first found out about the planned uplift when she was on the birthing table.

The unnamed mother, whose story is told in a new report, said she had done everything to convince authorities that she would be a good parent.

“My whole pregnancy was pretty good, like no issues,” she said.

“Everything was up to date, never missed, did everything possible like parenting courses, the whole shebang.

“I did everything possible to make sure that I was proving to [Child Youth and Family] that I’m doing right for my unborn. It wasn’t ’til I was halfway through labour I found out there was already an automatic uplift and then it went to s*** straight up.”

Her account is published in a report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, released today.

One of four investigations into Oranga Tamariki’s uplift practices, the report was based on interviews with mothers and families of 13 Māori pēpi, all of whom were either removed or at risk of removal by Oranga Tamariki or its predecessor Child, Youth and Family (). Of this group, five eventually had their children removed.

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft said the stories highlighted “deep systemic issues” in the state care and protection system.

I’ve read the report. It is, with respect, basically useless.

Nowhere in the report does it gives any a skerrick of detail as to why these mothers had come to be involved with OT. We don’t know how many previous children they’ve had and what has happened with them. Without this detail, one can not judge how reasonable or unreasonable OT has been.

I am sure there are times OT gets it wrong, and that it can improve how it operates. Automatic uplift orders should be known to the mother.

But publishing a report that gives oxygen to their litany of complaints and that provides no details of what has happened to their previous children is unbalanced.

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