NZ Herald Dec 22, 2008
Ruth Porter – Maxim Institute
In his defence of the maintenance of a separate Children’s Commission, Ian Hassall (himself a former Children’s Commissioner) argues that merging it with the Families Commission will not work, given that the “expectations” of various groups, including children and families, “are sometimes in competition with one another”. Families in competition with children? Indeed, when we emphasise children as a separate group from families, with competing interests, it’s easy to see why people think a joint commission won’t work.
The concern, though, is that if we misunderstand the relationship of children as part of a family then the way we tackle issues around children’s welfare will be limited. It is emphasising children as a part of a family that makes discussion about families’ responsibilities for children’s welfare meaningful.