Minister calls for debate on ‘whanau first’ childcare

Dominion Post 19/03/2011
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is reopening the debate on the “whanau first” childcare policy, questioning if it is “doing well” by abused children. When at risk youngsters can’t live with their parents, Child, Youth and Family workers look first to extended whanau or people connected to the family to provide a home. However, the Kahui twins, whose tragic death in 2006 shocked the nation, were living with their father in the Auckland home of their grandparents. The twins would have turned five tomorrow. Experts point out that many parents who abuse their child have themselves been the victims of family violence. “I think that New Zealand needs to have a debate about whanau care, which is controversial,” Ms Bennett said. “The legislation, as it stands, means we always look to whanau first … sometimes [to] the detriment of looking outside of family.