New laws could penalise reformed parents, Law Society says

OneNews 14 August 2013
The Law Society is concerned proposed child harm prevention legislation could penalise parents who have turned their lives around.

Minimum standards for government agencies and those contracted to work for them were outlined yesterday by Paula Bennett.

Under the proposed new legislation, convicted child abusers who go on to have more children will have to prove they are fit to be a parent again while people suspected of being at high risk of abusing children will be banned from contact with them, even if they have no convictions.

Garry Collin says there is a lot of sense in a convicted murderer being banned from contact with children but the Law Society is concernedthat a person who has had a child removed previously might face the same restrictions.

“We need to be careful we don’t penalise them by making them prove they are fit to have children when their life has changed,” Mr Collin told Breakfast this morning.

He said the society is concerned about the presumption of removal when a child is removed on birth before the mother has had a chance to prove she can care for that child.

“To break the bond between the mother and child is a serious thing to do.”