The problem does not only happen in the United States and abusive Social Workers go back to the very beginning. A documentary in 2019 depicted social workers’ repeatedly attempting to seize a Maori baby from its mother shortly after birth.
A new report has accused the New Zealand government’s child services agency with inhumane practices over the removal of children from Indigenous families. There are currently 5 investigations underway.
The report details what families describe as racial profiling, widespread fear among Māori families that their children will be taken away, and abuses of power by social workers. It details incidents in which armed police, with dogs, were sent to seize babies from their families. It is the first report in decades actually conducted by the Māori into a system in which Māori are vastly over-represented.
Sadly, these women’s babies have been taken into custody over the degree of cleanliness in their homes, over their past records even though they have changed their behavior, and due to any gang affiliations in their former partners.
The report has also accused the agency of not allowing extended Māori families to care for children – an established cultural practice – when relatives thought that was the best option.
Māori children make up about 65% of children in state care – the Māori people only comprise 16.5% of New Zealand’s population. Māori leaders hope in their meetings with Jacinda Ardern to now allow Māori communities to now develop their own solutions to care for their children.