Petition: Raise the age of child protection

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, May 27th, 2015 - 29 comments
Categories: child welfare, labour - Tags: , ,

A petition has been launched by Labour MP Jacinda Ardern on the issue of child protection:

Currently, child protection law means a young person leaves CYFS care at 17, but other state support, like housing and student allowances, doesn’t start until age 18. This means a young person who has been in foster care or a CYFs residence is suddenly left to fend for themselves. For some this means becoming homeless – for others, it can get even worse.

The government is leaving these young people out in the cold.

This isn’t right. But we have a chance to change this right now.

The government is reviewing this part of our child protection laws. If enough of us sign a petition telling the government to raise the child protection age, the minister responsible, Anne Tolley, will be forced to listen to us or face a backlash as hundreds of Kiwi kids are left without any support every year.

Kellie was one of those children.

“Leaving care for me was especially stressful because my birthday is in November, right in the middle of NCEA exams. Thinking back now I remember it was a period filled with confusion and frustration. I wasn’t sure whether I would continue to live with the same foster parents as I had or move to another, or whether I had to move out. No 17 year old should ever have to worry about these issues.” – Kellie

Seventeen is too young to have to fend for yourself without any support. All Kiwi kids deserve to be looked after until they are old enough to support themselves. Click here to sign the petition.

29 comments on “Petition: Raise the age of child protection”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    This just in: National Party defunds CYFS. A mouthpiece from the Prime Minister’s Office issued the following statement:

    “People who make bad choices need to get used to being homeless.”

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “If enough of us sign a petition telling the government to raise the child protection age, the minister responsible, Anne Tolley, will be forced to listen to us or face a backlash as hundreds of Kiwi kids are left without any support every year.”

    Emphasis mine. I can understand why she’s said it, but this is just naive language coming from an opposition MP who thinks they can ‘force’ the government to do anything.

    If you go around saying things that a segment of the population believes is naive / idealistic, they’re inclined to simply write-you-off as someone with your head in the clouds, and give everything else you say less credibility. This can reflect back on the party as a whole as well.

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.1

      “If you go around saying things that a segment of the population believes is naive / idealistic, they’re inclined to simply write-you-off as someone with your head in the clouds, and give everything else you say less credibility. This can reflect back on the party as a whole as well.”

      Firstly…bugger the party…they’re kinda buggered anyway.

      Secondly, if one fails to try and effect much needed change because of some egocentric fear of one’s credibility being diminished….then not much would ever change.

      This is a much needed reform…absolutely vital. These children are jettisoned by the state at a time in their lives that they need all the parental support they can get.

      Sign the petition…let Jacinda deal with any backlash.

      This is, after all politics….not tiddlywinks.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        My point is the language she’s using. That’s all.

        • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.1.1

          Do you know if this one year gap existed under the last Labour Govt?

          I agree with you that the wording appears to put an optimistic spin on what a petition can do on its own. It would be nice to have included in the wording some detail saying that the Opposition was lobbying the government on the matter in other ways as well, and that the petition was just one aspect of a broader campaign.

          • Tracey 2.1.1.1.1

            The Government that was voted out in October/November 2008 you mean? 6 and a half years ago?

          • Macro 2.1.1.1.2

            Actually CV this is an anomaly that has existed for decades. I began work as a Child Welfare Officer – in what was then the Child Welfare Division of the Education Department – later to become CYPS. The age of 17 relates to the then Children’s Court. The law under which the CWD operated was for the protection of Children up to the age of 17. A Young person could not be held to have committed an offence and convicted (unless under exceptional circumstances) until the age of 17. Part of the role of CW was to ensure that children coming to notice of the Police were either placed under supervision, or taken into the care of the state.
            The age of 18 of course comes from the lowering of the age that a person can vote, and with it the ability to draw benefits, serve in the armed forces, etc – much later than the age of 17 for state protection.

        • Rosemary McDonald 2.1.1.2

          Yep…I understand that.

          But sometimes, we get a bit overcautious in our use of language, what we say and how we say it.

          Better to get to the point.

          Focus.

          Jacinda…if you are reading this…perhaps you might take a look overseas…I may be wrong, but some nations support these children well into their twenties.

          As we parents in NZ are suppose to support our kids into their twenties…Student Allowance etc.

          CYFs went from being way too indulgent with its charges (we used to call it ‘state ward syndrome’) to being really quite draconian.

          Minimal reimbursement to foster parents, a struggle to get $$$ for uniforms and stationary and they refused to contribute towards the “voluntary” school donations.

          Part of the kick ’em when they’re down and toughen them up culture.

          How many former foster children in prison???

          This is seriously important shit.

    • Tracey 2.2

      Well, Labour has been sending petitions to their online subscribers for many months. I have watched as some of those issues get elevated to public discourse and some have led to Government announcements. I am NOT saying therefore that Labour gets the credit, I am saying that this is a poll driven / public opinion given government.

      I applaud the efforts being put into these petitions by LP and it is 1 way to connect and perhaps influence change without being in government. BUT electronic is not the only form of connecting with possible supporters or current supporters.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        As CV said above, if they do have a wider campaign going on, they should mention it here. And similarly as you’ve said, if they have had petitions that have resulted in public discussions and even government action, then again Jacinda should reference them in this blurb.

        It’s quite easy to say “Just like petition X resulted in the government doing Y, and petition Z caught the medias attention, we hope that with enough signatures on this new petition A we can prompt the government to take this issue seriously and make the proper changes”. Get rid of the strident-sounding “backlash” and “force” words.

        • Of course if they did do as suggested in your 2nd paragraph you’d be complaining that Labour is pussy-footing around the issue and not taking the fight to the government.

          If you don’t believe in the power of mass backlash to force governments to take action when they otherwise would not, may I suggest you are on the wrong end of the political spectrum?

          • Bob 2.2.1.1.1

            “If you don’t believe in the power of mass backlash to force governments to take action when they otherwise would not, may I suggest you are on the wrong end of the political spectrum?”
            Perhaps he is part of the ‘silent majority’ rather than the ‘vocal minority’ that continually lose sight of what they are actually trying to achieve and turn the public against them. Using perceived ‘mass backlash’ (just because the 20 people around you are yelling with you doesn’t make you a majority) and ‘force’ often has a negative effect on your overall cause (see Sue Bradford’s rent-a-crowd at the post budget protest as a prime example).
            Lanthanide is pointing to positive re-enforcement as a way to win over voters, orders of magnitude more likely to work than yelling at people, maybe you should listen…or continue yelling, your call.

          • Lanthanide 2.2.1.1.2

            Of course if they did do as suggested in your 2nd paragraph you’d be complaining that Labour is pussy-footing around the issue and not taking the fight to the government.

            No, I wouldn’t.

    • John Shears 2.3

      I have signed have you ?
      It’s a petition , an attempt to get a point across.
      I care about children who have no parents.
      The state should too.

      • Lanthanide 2.3.1

        Labour has a general communications problem.

        This is just one tiny little symptom of the same thing – putting out press releases using idealistic language that will turn some people off from listening to you.

        People who already agree are going to sign the petition regardless of what the press release says. People who are on the fence or disagree may see the message as overblown and “a waste of time” and do nothing.

        • Lanthanide 2.3.1.1

          Ran out of time to edit:

          I suspect that Jacinda probably wrote this herself and it may not have had much in the way of peer-review. That in itself could highlight a process issue – if there was a communications team that reviewed all releases, they can come up with a consistent tone and method of communication. Perhaps they already have such a team, in which case I disagree with how they’re functioning.

  3. Bob 3

    Done.

    I agree with Lanthanide that Jacinda is being naive thinking this will FORCE the Government to do anything, but I also think it is a change that this Government would be willing to make if enough people get behind it.
    It is reasonably low cost change (as, according to this release, it would only affect a matter of hundreds of people) and has a big social upside long term, why wouldn’t they change the legislation?

    • Tracey 3.1

      The government overnight changed the notification to victims that the person who offended against them has been released, to making sure they ARE notified. OVER NIGHT. This is indeed a public opinion driven Government. How many are impacted by their murderer being released without their knowledge? A very small number. For the record it is, imo, a change that should never have been needed cos it was in place… that is not my point.

      • Philip Ferguson 3.1.1

        Not sure what you mean when you ask, “How many are impacted by their murderer being released without their knowledge?”

        How would someone be notified that their murderer was released without their knowledge???

  4. T Chris 4

    “The government overnight changed the notification to victims that the person who offended against them has been released, to making sure they ARE notified. ”

    What is the difference?

    • Tracey 4.1

      What???

      I see your comment about Ganesh’s article and you don’t get the point. There is a pattern emerging.

      My point is they can do somethings instantly…

      And others take months and years. The common thread is NOT the number of people impacted

  5. Philip Ferguson 5

    I won’t be signing this petition and I actually find it quite perverse to want to make people legally children until they are 18.

    Good grief, this is 2015.

    The demand should be coming from the other end – to make 17 the age for receiving entitlements.

    Once upon a time a lot of us looked forward to leaving school at 16, so we could start to plan on leaving home and becoming independent/autonomous members of society. Now, children are wrapped in cotton wool, enfeebled and kept in a kind of suspended childhood. A colleague of mine used to refer to many adolescents of today as suffering “learned dependency” as parents and state treat them as fragile and don’t help them grow up.

    I should add that Ardern’s petition fits Labour’s approach of treating people as ‘vulnerable’, as victims etc and lacking in agency.

    Give people the resources they need, don’t treat them like helpless infants!

    Phil

    • Philip Ferguson 5.1

      OOps, my co-worker called it “learned helplessness” not learned dependency.

      Phil

      • miravox 5.1.1

        I agree almost entirely Philip, however, the state only want the learned helplessness bit so it can foist costs of young adults who should be making their way in the world back on to parents. Otherwise it’s fend for yourself you losers, and therein lies the problem with a gap between leaving care and state support.

        I imagine there is someway around the problem – e.g. an independent living allowance? Otherwise we’d have more of these young people begging in the streets. Kellie’s story in the information here states ‘there was a period of confusion’ not that she did not get assistance of some form. If she did get assistance, what was it? Is this an administrative problem where 17 year-olds have to go through extra hoops to get some kind of support? Or is there never any support?

        I feel this petition notification doesn’t give anywhere near enough information. Nor could I find a recent press release on the Labour website to go with it that may have provided more information.

        I have petition fatigue, btw, isn’t there another method of building support? Difficult I know, without finding another John Campbell, but surely there is some celeb or whoever who knows someone who knows someone that can tell what it’s like to be caught in this limbo. Maybe a persuasive banging on about it in public at universities, polytechs etc (if that is not already being done). Online petitions from politicians have a place, but aren’t really making enough noise when they don’t have a public groundswell (just imo of course), and the more there are the less noise they get, I suspect. At the very least, a press release with some priority would be expected? Social media only goes so far in informing the unconverted.

        Although I’m being critical, as someone who received income support to enable living independently at a young age, I absolutely agree young people need financial and social support. But agree more that these young people require assistance to live as young adults, not be redefined as children.

    • Bill 5.2

      Agree. The other end of the problem needs addressed,

      Another point. To what extent do these petitions coming from Labour present the government with free polling data? Pretty sure they could do rough and ready extrapolations from them and act accordingly. Just a thought.

      • Tracey 5.2.1

        I think they have been doing that Bill… and we see the impact from time to time including the recent budget.

        I would rater see a little less suffering now, as a result of them taking the notions, than wait and hope that in 2 and a half years Labour might do the same thing, or better.

      • Given petitions are self-selected and I doubt Labour is handing over the names and locations of signers to the goverment, I’m not sure why it would count as “free polling data”. 50,000 people signing something is 50,000 people signing something.

    • Tracey 5.3

      Once upon a time there were jobs for all 15 year olds leaving school.

  6. her 6

    Who’s idea was that?
    Do you think the government hires someone to think of the worst thing they could do and then do it?

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    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago

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