My Submission to the Social Services Committee on the
Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill
E nga mana, kouotu o te Komiti Tena Koutou.
You gather, not just to discuss a bill and hear views on a bill.
NO, You, each and every committee member gathered, holds the future of children in our nation in your hands, in a very literal way.
I was a child in care when I was 11. I am now a grown man and throughout my life, have know many of my whanau in a similar situation.
The time when we are away from our Mums and Dads is undoubtedly the MOST traumatising time of our lives. We are apart from those who gave us life.
Now, we are away from them to be safe, and it is only that safety, that gets us through the weeks and months (or for some YEARS) that we are away from our very own Parents.
Safety AND WHANAU. Safety IN WHANAU.
In our case, for the majority of our time in state-care under CYFS way back in 1999-2000 we lived with Mum's Brother. We were with WHANAU.
Let me tell you, we are so so grateful for that, because it showed us all those years ago that we do indeed have a wider loving whanau and our whanau really actually, care in a tangible and real way.
I urge the committee to ENSURE that our children in state-care are at the very first oppurtunity, placed with their whanau. This needs to be mandated and explicitly stated in law.
It is NOT Optional. It is NOT a Maybe.
Children NEED TO be placed in their safety of their whanau.
Tamariki Maori in particular, SHOULD be placed with their whanau or even their hapu.
This is the right thing to do. This is the RIGHT THING to write in to this law.
You are all connected to tamariki, whether you are Parents yourselves, or Grandparents or Aunties or Uncles. What wou;d you want for your own tamariki.
As for me, I want tamariki in Aotearoa to be loved in and by the safety of their own whanau.