Babies taken at birth from risky mothers 25 July 2013
Nearly 800 newborn babies were taken from their mothers and put into government care in the past five years, with one Waikato baby taken within hours of its birth.

The 773 babies – all less than a month old – were taken due to “serious concerns” about their parents’ ability to care for them.

Child, Youth and Family midlands regional director Sue Critchley described the removals as “absolutely the last resort”.

“The last thing any social worker wants to do is take a newborn baby off their mother. So it has to be an absolute serious situation.

“When a baby is born it needs to be bonding with the parent and getting attached, so it’s certainly one of the hardest calls we have to make.”

The Midlands region (which includes Waikato and the Bay of Plenty) had the lowest number of babies taken (118) in the period, while the Southern region had the highest with 247 taken into care.

CYF would not reveal the age of the youngest child taken into care, but confirmed one Waikato baby was removed the day it was born.