Investigation into circumstances around the death of a child   30 May 2012

Child Youth and Family has been asked to urgently investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a child who was suffocated by his intoxicated mother.

Ngaire Tukiwaho was today sentenced in the Rotorua High Court after pleading guilty to manslaughter of her two-month old Tahi Elvis Edwards.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says, “there are just too many unanswered questions around this family”.

“It is quite clear there was a history of serious dysfunction in the home with a mother who did not put her children first and a father who’d had two children previously removed by CYF,” says Mrs Bennett.

“I think most New Zealanders would be deeply concerned to hear a baby was suffocated to death in the back seat of a car while his drunk mother slept.”

“I think they’d also be concerned there was previous involvement with the family,” says Mrs Bennett.

Minister Bennett has asked the Chief Executive of Child Youth and Family to investigate the circumstances surrounding this family.

“It raises once again, the question I have put to New Zealanders through the Green Paper process about whether we should be flagging parents who come to the attention of CYF to ensure subsequent children are protected as well as sharing information more widely.”

“It’s time we stopped tip toeing around these issues,” says Mrs Bennett.

(New Zealand Government)

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