Reports: Modernising Child Protection in New Zealand
Ilan Katz, Natasha Cortis, Aron Shlonsky and Robyn Mildon:
Families Commission - Kōmihana ā Whānau, May 2016
"This report outlines some key issues for child protection systems, based on a review of approaches and reforms in England, the United States, Canada (Ontario), Norway and Australia (New South Wales). These jurisdictions were selected as being similar to New Zealand in their basic approach to child protection but also to include one jurisdiction which offers a contrasting approach. Systems in the English-speaking jurisdictions are all ‘child protection’ oriented or ‘residual’. In these systems child protection is mainly a response to children who have been maltreated or who are at signi cant risk of maltreatment. The systems therefore focus on assessment, surveillance and child removal. In contrast, the Norwegian system is a ‘family support’ system which intervenes in a wider range of family issues and is focused on supporting families in the community. This paper is based on a search of peer-reviewed and ‘grey literature’ and compares jurisdictions with New Zealand."
The report includes a fair amount of statistics.
What the report relates about the Norwegian child protection system is entirely based on official information. It focuses a lot on the formal organisation of the system.
"The underlying principle of the system is to promote the best interests of the child. Filial bonds are considered a resource. Reflecting the family support focus and the provision of accessible services, parents frequently initiate contact with the Child Welfare Service. Parents are an important source of notification (15.8%) (Kojan & Lonne, 2012). To remove a child, child welfare services require parental consent or approval from the independent County Committee for Social Affairs."
The experience of many thousands of Norwegian families shows each of these statements to be a total misrepresentation of reality.
"Although the Norwegian system responds to a wider variety of needs than in Australia, including youth justice and mental health, the number of investigations per 1000 children is lower (27.2 in 2009 compared with 40.2 in Australia). Also, a higher proportion of investigations result in substantiated cases (50.2% compared with
33.6% in Australia) (Kojan & Lonne, 2012)."
That a higher proportion investigated is taken up as cases does not mean that the allegations are substantiated. It means that they are claimed to be, made out to be. Norwegian CPS is far from truthful in what it says, be it about the individual family or about the way they fit aspects of cases into statistics.
Poor New Zealand, being recommended to try and learn from Norway – from what Norwegian CPS pretends to be. I remember New Zealanders as practical, rather down-to-earth, sceptical about foreign pretensions and "elegance". I wish they would look through the nonsense of Norway.
In May 2016, the date of this report, there had recently been demonstrations in Norway against the child protection agency, and more followed. There had been one in December 2015, there were some in 2017, and particularly January through June 2016 there were also demonstrations; on 16 April people demonstrated against Norwegian CPS in many cities and places in about 20 countries around the world, with altogether many thousand protesters. There was even a small but supportive one in Hamilton, Waikato! People knew then, particularly but not exclusively through the Bodnariu case, that all that our authorities and the CPS people themselves claim for our CPS is untrue.