Christchurch woman shocked by condition of two children with sores and lice
Stuff co.nz 5 January 2015
A Christchurch woman was horrified when she found two young children she had previously cared for underweight with severe head lice and boils.
Kelsey Lourie had not been in contact with the children for about a year, but received a phone call in December asking if she could pick up the 8-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy on their last day of school.
The call came from a grandparent, who had been responsible for the children’s care since they were babies.
“We were shocked at the state of them,” Lourie said.
“The girl had two inch blocks of nit eggs in her hair and she has psoriasis. It’s got so bad that the nits have started burrowing into her scalp.
“The boy is 18 kilograms and he is 7, that’s in the bottom 10 per cent of where he should be.”
Family First NZ National Director Bob McCoskrie said in a neglect case like this where “all the red flags have been raised”, intervention was necessary.
“It’s Christchurch based so you are going to have to take into account the issues around the earthquake and how families are coping but at the same time it can’t be used as an excuse,” he said.
In 2003-2004, 2878 cases of neglect were reported. According to CYF records, neglect cases peaked in 2012-2013 at 5405, before dropping to 4583 the following year.
Editorial: Assurances needed that CYF knew about ‘extreme’ child neglect case
Stuff co.nz 6 January 2016
Who is looking after the children?
In many cases where the answer is “not their parents”, safe and sensible alternatives will have been put in place by Child Youth and Family (CYF). But given news of the awful neglect of two young children in Christchurch, it would appear CYF intervention may not always be for the better.
The case exposed this week makes for shocking reading. An 8-year-old girl and her 7-year-old brother are the victims of serious neglect, suffering from appalling health issues which are entirely preventable and treatable. They have been cared for by a grandparent since they were babies.
This in a relatively affluent city in New Zealand.
Last month, the children’s carer rang the home of a family friend to ask if she could pick them up from school. The friend was subsequently horrified to discover how their health had suffered since the last time she cared for them, about a year earlier.
Christchurch City Missioner Michael Gorman and Family First NZ national director Bob McCoskrie have reacted strongly, and appropriately. McCoskrie says intervention for the children’s sake is clearly necessary and that earthquake issues cannot be used as an excuse. Gorman says he believes this has to be at the “extreme” end of the neglect scale.