CYF unaware smothered baby even born

NZ Herald 1 June 2012
A Rotorua mother jailed this week for suffocating her baby while drunkenly sleeping was thought to have been “coping” by Child, Youth and Family before the tragedy. The agency was unaware Ngaire Kura Tukiwaho had given birth to Tahi Elvis Edwards, who died at just 2 months old as she slept on him in the back of a parked car after a day of drinking in January last year. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death. Three years earlier, Tukiwaho, 30, lost a 1-month-old son, Hoani Benino, to cot death and was advised of safe sleeping practices. “It appears there was a level of dysfunction in this household that we were not aware of,” CYF head Bernadine MacKenzie said.

…In a written response to the Herald, Ms MacKenzie said CYF had been involved with Tukiwaho in 2008 after concerns about her two eldest children. At that time, CYF was also advised of Hoani’s death. “CYF worked closely with the wider whanau to ensure supports were in place for the mother. “We ceased our involvement once we believed she had the support she needed and was coping,” Ms McKenzie said.