Stuff.co.nz 15 February 2014
Parents who cannot keep their newborns safe are increasingly being dobbed in by their family and the public.
After the murder of 3-year-old Rotorua girl Nia Glassie in 2007, there has been a sharp rise in the number of newborn babies removed from their parents, with scores ending up in foster care every year.
Nia’s case, and the deaths of twins Chris and Cru Kahui in 2006, sparked public outrage after family members kept silent and authorities failed to connect the dots.
Figures released under the Official Information Act show that, in 2008, after Child, Youth and Family was criticised for its handling of a string of child abuse deaths, the number of babies removed from their mothers more than doubled in just one year.
More than 140 babies under a month old are now being removed from their mothers every year.
Last month, Oriwa Kemp, one of the people jailed in connection with the Nia Glassie case, had her newborn child taken by CYF.
Babies At Risk
In the past year there were:
26 babies taken from their mothers at birth
157 babies taken within their first month of life
37 removed babies given to extended family, with the rest ending up in foster homes or as wards of the state
1800 referrals to CYF concerning the safety of unborn children, mostly from police or health services but increasingly from the babies’ families or the public
153 babies abused or neglected in the first month of their life.