National | CYF

Former ward of state wants better Māori input in CYF

19-year-old Tupua Urlich, a former child of the state believes Māori need to play a bigger role in the review and the overall business structures of Child Youth and Family.

He knows the State care system too well and under current CYF policies Urlich has no doubt the state is setting young people up to fail.

"We are over-represented in that system.  So why isn't there more Māori involved in the solution.  That's how Māori are as a people. Iwi take care of their people, you know it's not just the two parents that take care of them," says Urlich.

Urlich is involved in the Child Youth Family review which is set to propose a new business model by December.

He hopes that the age of state care dependents will be lifted to 21 and he’s now calling for iwi to play a bigger leadership role in the entire organisation.

"Māori should be given the opportunity to have a positive say or an influence, or somewhat of a say in regard to their young in care," says Urlich.

Now that he's 19 years old and no longer a ward of the state, he has at times been homeless and was only recently rehoused by the Dingwall Trust in the North Shore.

"We need to have the right people giving us the right time to adapt to the adult world and giving us the essential skills to not only know how to live in it, but to strive in it,"

Although Urlich has seen the grim side of state care, he is still hopeful that positive change can happen through the review of Child Youth and Family.