Children in need

31 05 2010

This is the preface to  It was never meant to be a post I am writing and will publish very shortly. It examines my experiences of the adoption system in New Zealand, after we took the decision to provide a home to two very damaged little souls.

I am not qualified to pass judgement on adoption protocols, but I do have opinions based on what I experienced. I don’t  seek to undermine the efforts of anyone involved in adoption. To the best of my knowledge, everyone involved with adoption and fostering acts within established legal constraints, they are largely professional, selflessly dedicated  and act without side nor malice to procure the very best possible outcome for children in need, in what can be a maelstrom of emotion and complex legalities.

In my view these people deserve more resources and more support for the incredibly important work that they do. Sadly, politicians and ignorant people (not mutually exclusive) see this as a soft area to squeeze spending and cut costs. Social workers take the rap for a hell of a lot and are blamed for making very human mistakes in difficult and pressurised circumstances. Yes, I do think that trendy, politically motivated (mostly left-wing, liberal and racial) ideology has secured for itself an almost inalienable right to govern thinking in this area. As a direct consequence children have been damaged, society’s patience with very necessary societal agencies such as CYFs has been stretched to the limit, and professionals and volunteers who just want to give children the best possible start in life, as any compassionate human being would, have found the task increasingly difficult.

As far as greater society is concerned, it would really rather not know what social work is done on its behalf. It’s actually far too frightening emotionally to get involved and understand. There’s also a prevalent attitude that it’s always someone else’s problem or “…that’s why I pay my taxes…”. Therefore, all child welfare issues are held at arm’s length away from us, and given over primarily to government bodies like Child, Youth and Family (CYFs, in New Zealand), and voluntary organisations, e.g. Barnardos.

It might seem very simplistic, but in my view it would be an insult to view this as idealistic,  if we could make people realise that childhood and infancy comes but once. Every child has a right to the best possible start in life. As a society we have a shared responsibility to ensure the safety, health, welfare and education of all children. If our children are well-adjusted, our society can have hope and expect to achieve greater things. If we could embrace this as part of  a ‘Big Society’ to coin a phrase from David Cameron the British Prime Minister, then perhaps we might begin to solve some of our horrific social issues in New Zealand.

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3 responses

1 06 2010
Jill

Well written and although I’ve not been involved I applaud the sentiment of greater support and responsibility for our children and families society wide.

3 06 2010
elleonthego

It is all so sad that there are so many vulnerable and needy children out there together with many childless couples or loving families wanting to adopt them, yet, the process is so difficult, many will never know the joy of belonging to a family.
Children are the future and need to be nurtured and respected.
Of course, there should be rules but one mustn’t forget there are no rules or forms to fill in when you become a parent “naturally”.
PS I had no idea the situation was so bad in NZ.

7 06 2010
djpnz

It is interesting that part of what David Cameron is asking Frank Field to look at is how parenting and home life/one’s upbringing in the UK today is affecting educational attainment and progression. The focus on children as the cornerstone for a better society in the future is one place we can surely obtain consensus. It’s so vital. You know, I am still haunted by the images of the kids who weren’t being homed. They looked so sad. Heart wrenching. Your point about the rules is a valid one and I forgot to put it into my post…all the rules I had to follow but no-body ever told two incompetent parents what they shouldn’t be doing…

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