True and Lasting Solutions

Archived Article: Trust Newsletter 5/2/2009

lasting solutions image.jpg   ‘It takes a family to raise a child and failing that, a village to protect them’

The 2008 Annual Report of the Officer of the Children’s Commissioner provides for some alarming reading.

The report shows that since 2000 more than 350 children whose safety or welfare had been brought to the attention of Child Youth and Family have died. 86 in the last year
alone. Not all of these deaths were due to abuse or neglect, some died of natural causes, some in accidents, some for medical reasons and some chose tragically to take their own lives.  Another very concerning fact is that most children who die as a result of homicide or deliberate violence are aged under the age of five, and are unknown to CYF officials.

Whichever way you look at these statistics they are truly tragic.

While For the Sake of our Children recognise that many CYF officials working at a grass roots level are hard working, and do all they can with the resources they are given, this report clearly shows there is much room for improvement.

Further and more importantly this report highlights again the continued disintegration of the family unit, and the need for communities, as groups of people living together, connected by geography at least, and more often than not by schools, clubs and common interests, to take responsibility for caring for each other.

It takes a family to raise a child and Ronald Regan once noted, ‘Families must continue to be the foundation of our nation. Families – not government programs – are the best way to make sure our children are properly nurtured, our elderly are cared for, our cultural and spiritual heritages perpetuated, our laws are observed and our values are preserved. Thus it is imperative that our government’s programs, actions, officials and social welfare institutions never be allowed to jeopardize the family. We fear the government may be powerful enough to destroy our families; we know that it is not powerful enough to replace them’.

Children often point the finger and find three pointing back at them. We too should recognise that rather than pointing the finger and asking what more the government can do to fix this problem, this report should challenge us to realise true and long lasting solutions are found in meaningful and strong relationships; marriages of lasting commitment; families where children are loved and protected, and where those who may not be so fortunate are able to be loved, encouraged and inspired within their environment.

Lindsay Price