Sunday, April 29, 2007

Perspective: Section 59

from the South Island Home-Educators newsletter, The South-Islander

Lately there has been a lot of controversy regarding the repeal of Section 59. This is a very important issue, as htis is not about anti smacking but anti family and about the State having control. The State does not own our children so let us keep the right to raise them our way. If we could trust CYF (Child Youth & Familes) to be fair and honest I may not feel so bad about it but they are a law unto themselves and they don't even have to obey the High Court of New Zealand. The cost of fighting accusations and getting children back is extremely high totalling more than $100,000, even closer to $300,000 for one family we know. The Government wants to get into our homes and take charge of our children. Some teachers are already asking children if their parents smack or discipline them and enquire as to what is happening at home. If the children don't answer then they are called uncooperative and naughty for not answering the teacher. To illustrate the seriousness of this issue I would likee to share with you a case we are assisting with at the moment.

The child was taken from school without CYF even checking if the allegatinos made by the school about the parents were true. The school told CYF that the child was two years behind in school and was absent much of the time. They were also concerned about the child's unproven lack of hygine. The truth behind the matter was that the child is at least two years ahead for her age group and that she has been sick with a virus. The parents had notified the school and the tyruant officers were satisfied but told the family she must be in school four hours a day, which is the law. The family complied with the law, but had previously reported the school to the ERO, so this was the school's retaliation. The social workers said that they had required couselling after they picked up the child because it was so stressful. The could have avoided the "stress" had they asked the child to read to them, do maths or write for them. Her hygiene was excellent so that wasn'ta problem. I asked the child myself and was happily shown what she could do and I had only just met the child.

I wonder if people know that Section 59 has only been used seven times in 10 years! [to protect parents such as the Timaru lady or the uncle in the "hose-pipe" case. These cases have been portrayed by the media as the parents badly abusing their children, however this is not the case. For more information, click here.] So why the big issue, except that they want more reasons to take children off their parents. The lawyers will do very well from this and the foster care agencies that undoubtedly will have to increase staff to handle the increased number of children taken from their homes.

by Dot Brown (parent)

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