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Contrasting national jurisdictional and welfare responses to violence to children.

Waldegrave, Charles
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Social Policy Journal of New Zealand. 27:57-76.

This paper describes some approaches to addressing maltreatment of
children in OECD countries and explores whether these approaches could
be used to improve outcomes in New Zealand. Comparisons are made
between the Anglo-American model of child protection, which New Zealand
uses, and the Continental European model of family services. The child
protection model is based on the adversarial legal approach, where social
workers’ focus is on removing the child from potentially harmful family
situations and gathering evidence for legal proceedings. The family services
model is focused on maintaining the family unit wherever possible, and the
social workers work with families to sort out their problems. This model
uses the inquisitorial legal approach, where specially trained judges lead
teams of social workers to help the child by enabling changes in family
circumstances to equip parents to meet their obligations to their children.
New Zealand’s use of Family Group Conferences, which is developed
from an indigenous Mäori structure, is more akin to the family services
approach. This is because it encourages early intervention, with a wide
whänau/family focus, without the need for gathering legally admissible
evidence. However, if New Zealand wanted to adopt a more holistic family services approach to child protection, there would need to be a substantial
theoretical and procedural shift from seeking to punish “unsafe” families
to ensuring parents are assisted to meet their obligations regarding the
wellbeing and safety of their children. (author’s abstract)


AbstractChild WelfareFamiliesRJ in Schools
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