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Wednesday, December 4 • 11:30am - 1:00pm
BREAKOUT SESSION THREE: Social Work

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Chair: Liz Beddoe

Briar O’Connor: Normalising the Vulnerable Children Act in a school

One way to address Aotearoa New Zealand’s high rates of child abuse and neglect is to improve child safety in schools, as teachers have the most contact with children outside of the home (Beddoe, de Haan, & Joy, 2018; D. Wilson & Webber, 2014). The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 (VCA) has legislated that child protection policies (CPPs) be implemented in all schools, in the place of mandatory reporting. This includes staff being able to identify and respond to suspected and actual abuse. Schools must now ensure CPPs are implemented, integrated and embedded – the facets that make up Normalization Process Theory (May & Finch, 2009). Working with a school to discover how this might happen informs my PhD. In this paper I will outline some of the challenges of the Act, of working within a school environment, and of dis/connections between social work and education.


Eileen Joy: ’Hard to reach families’ and austerity politics in the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children: What this can tell us about the current Oranga Tamariki reforms?

Recently, Minister for Oranga Tamariki, Tracey Martin has countered concerns about Oranga Tamariki by stating that it is only two years into a five-year planned reform. In this presentation, it is suggested that to understand these current reforms we need to consider its genesis in the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children (2011). Bacchi (2009) will be used to examine ‘what the problem was/is presented to be’ in the Green Paper and how that ultimately lead to and informed the reformation of Child Youth and Family into Oranga Tamariki. It is suggested that the context of the Green Paper, coming as a response to both the heavily publicised deaths of some Māori children and the fiscal constraints post GFC, has created a problematic foundation for these current reforms that is both racist and poverty blaming.


Susan Kemp and Paula King: Knowledge Weaving: Building Culturally Grounded Frameworks for Participatory Child Protection Practice

The ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) by NZ in 1993 required the state to establish mechanisms for realising children’s rights to meaningful participation in decisions affecting their lives and wellbeing. This obligation is consistent with the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi and is embedded in New Zealand legislation, including the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. Ensuring meaningful participation by children and young people in child protection services (CPS) is however challenging. In NZ, this gap is particularly concerning for tamariki Māori. Revisions to the 1989 Act (Section 7AA) require Oranga Tamariki to demonstrate a “practical commitment” to te Tiriti. However, NZ lacks frameworks for participatory child protection practice grounded in Māori perspectives, priorities, and tikanga. Drawing on Oranga Mokopuna, a decolonial child wellbeing model based in te Ao Māori and collective indigenous rights, as well as the participatory rights principles of the UNCRC, this presentation describes the integrative conceptual foundations undergirding our current research, which aims to develop frameworks for CPS practice that bridge the system’s obligation to safeguard children’s individual rights and its equal obligation, under te Tiriti o Waitangi, to partnership with and full participation by tamariki Māori, whānau, hapū and Iwi.


Charlotte Chisnell & Sarah Elliott: Changing the narrative – Why are we still referring to victims of child sexual exploitation as child prostitutes?


Globally the term child sexual exploitation is used to describe exploitive situations in which a young person engages in sexual activities in exchange for money or goods. CSE includes face to face grooming, online grooming and commercial trafficking. CSE is a form of child sexual and emotional abuse however, because the exploitation occurs in situations where a young person enters into a transactional arrangement, there is an assumption that they are making informed choices with an equal bargaining power rather than being controlled and victims of abuse. Currently there are limited services and resources to support victims, and despite the fact that social workers have specific legal duties of care to protect children and young people from abuse protocols and strategies for assessment and intervention remain underdeveloped. We have a responsibility to change the narrative around CSE and to stop the blaming of victims. We need to challenge the perception that CSE involves informed choice and acknowledge that it constitutes a misuse of power which violates young people’s rights and places them at risk of abuse; ultimately we need to develop multi-agency protocols and interventions which will safeguard young people who are victims of CSE.


Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

Presenters
avatar for Briar O’Connor

Briar O’Connor

PhD candidate, University of Auckland
Normalisation Process Theory; Child Protection Policies and Procedures; primary schools; applied theatre; family violence primary prevention; Everyday Theatre
avatar for Liz Beddoe

Liz Beddoe

Professor, University of Auckland