Child Protection: Promoting permanency without adoption

Allan Cooke - Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy


This chapter from the Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy examines how permanency for children is achieved in New Zealand in the child protection context. The permanent removal of Maori children from their families and extended family groups, including placement for adoption, has been a profound issue for Maori. The concern for Maori about the numbers of children being taken into care was a driver for the July 2019 amendments. Unlike other jurisdictions (such as England and the US), adoption of children in permanency cases has generally not been followed in New Zealand since the passing of the Adoption Act 1955. Special guardianship was enacted as from 30 June 2016 as a vehicle for securing permanency for children in new families. The introductory bill noted that the intention was that in ‘Home for Life’ placements, guardianship can be ‘tailored to meet the child’s situation by allowing guardianship rights to be shared between the special guardians and the children’s parents or vested solely in the special guardians’.