Wellington: New Zealand said on Wednesday it would put a virtual moratorium on the practice of taking at-risk children away from their families, a policy that has long angered its indigenous Māori community.
Children who have suffered for decades have been moved into state care despite Māori criticism that the process is racially skewed and a legacy of colonization. Most of the children taken, a process known locally as “regeneration”, are Māori.
Thousands of Māori took to the streets in 2019 to protest media reports that the Children’s Ministry tried to take a newborn baby away from its mother in a hospital.
Children’s Minister Calvin Davis said on Wednesday that the government has accepted all recommendations of a ministerial advisory board on how to fix the child care and protection system. The ministry was told that removal of children should be used only as a last resort.
“This report will end uplifting as we know them,” Davis said in a statement, adding that future efforts will focus on community-led prevention.
According to documents on the ministry’s website, in 2019-2020, 1,334 children entered state care, of whom about 60 percent were Māori.
Māori have called the children in the care of the state as New Zealand’s “stolen generation” – taken as children as part of the official policy of forcibly assimilating indigenous Australians from their families as children.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern launched a Royal Commission in 2018 to investigate the abuse of young people in state care, saying the country needed to face “a dark chapter” in its history.
Investigations in December revealed that 1.25 million children, youth and vulnerable adults were physically and sexually abused in state care and other institutions from the 1960s to the 2000s.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times