Despair after foster children taken

Otago Daily Times 22 November 2014
Two children are pictured with their arms around a couple; bright eyes, beaming smiles.

The framed photo is worth more than a thousand words – it is one of the only mementos a Central Otago couple have of the children, who called them ”Mummy and Daddy”, after Child Youth and Family’s Home for Life programme turned out for them to be anything but.

The couple, whom the Otago Daily Times cannot name, had the children removed from their care by CYF in February. They were returned to a previous foster care arrangement.

The couple, in their 40s, initially wanted to adopt a child. They almost did so several times before a social worker in Invercargill suggested the Home for Life programme.

”It’s not an adoption, although it’s sold to you in the way it would lead to adoption,” the woman says.

A CYF brochure on Home for Life states the child will be ”in your care for life” and in most cases the couple will ”become their legal guardian, often in addition to birth parents”.

Contact will ”usually” continue with the child’s birth family in a ”safe and planned way”, it says.

However, the woman says Home for Life is a ”deeply flawed” system.