We are not doing enough for children with

I recently made a submission to the Abuse in Care: Royal Commission of Inquiry on behalf of a young whānau-member survivor who is autistic and lives with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and mental health issues. I made that submission also because I am a social worker and a staunch advocate for those who live with neurodisabilities; many of them have experienced early removal from birth families, as well as lifelong rejection and misunderstanding by systems of education, health, care and justice. In my submission, I discussed how today’s current care and justice systems cause as much harm to children and whānau as historic ones. In my recent Reimagining Social Work blog (Gibbs, 2022), I highlighted the harm to children caused specifically by current, residence-based interventions in youth justice, but in this piece, I also want to highlight how multiple aspects of both current care and protection, and youth justice provision harm our children with neuro-disabilities. In a future, research-based article, I will highlight specific findings on best practices for working in the justice space for youth living with FASD (in preparation).

Anita Gibbs, University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand

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