News Item

April 2018

Doctoral Scholarship awarded to Michael Morrison for legal research into placement of children in State care

The Law Foundation is pleased to announce that Michael Morrison has been awarded a Doctoral Scholarship to carry out research into the legal mechanisms that regulate the placement of children in State care. He is a PhD candidate at Otago University’s Law Faculty. His research is entitled “Long term care options for tamariki in Aotearoa New Zealand: A critical examination into long term fostering and adoptive practices in New Zealand”.

Michael hopes that his PhD research will help improve the legal mechanisms and policy which regulate the placement of the 5,603 children currently in state care in New Zealand who require a permanent, safe and loving home environment. He will address two main objectives. First, he will critically examine the practices, policies and laws which govern permanent fostering in New Zealand, to determine the advantages and disadvantages of permanent fostering as an alternative to adoption. Secondly, Michael will attempt to determine if, and how, the law of adoption could be reformed to facilitate the placement of children and young persons currently in state care into safe, stable and loving homes.

By talking with foster parents, social workers, family lawyers, public servants and others Michael aims to identify blockages in the law and policy around permanent fostering and adoption in New Zealand. He will also look to international examples for learnings that would be appropriate to apply in the New Zealand context.

Michael’s research is expected to be of interest to public servants, social workers, foster parents, and those working in the legal and academic sectors. He plans to publish his work near the end of 2021 – in academic journals, via the media, websites and blogs.

The New Zealand Law Foundation’s Doctoral Scholarship is valued at $10,000 each year for up to three years, as a top-up to the award of a New Zealand University PhD Scholarship. Applications are accepted twice a year the deadlines are 28th February and 31st August.