Moko’s ‘Caregivers’ Had Huge Red Flags

Media Release 6 July 2016
Family First NZ says the revelations that the so-called ‘caregivers’ of Moko had extensive criminal records is further evidence that we are not taking child abuse serious enough and are not targeting the rotten parents that should be regularly and stringently monitored.

“This case shows why we have such a high child abuse rate. The concerns raised about this couple should have been immediately and thoroughly investigated. Why didn’t CYF fully investigate when they were first notified of possible concerns – especially given the criminal records of the caregivers. This is another botched case leading to an unnecessary and tragic death. New Zealanders will be rightly horrified by this new information,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Convictions for possession of a knife in a public place, contravening a protection order, and male assaults female amongst others is ample proof that David Haerewa should not have been a ‘caregiver’ in any capacity.”

“Families which have shown a propensity for drug and alcohol abuse, family violence, and where there are a number of agencies who are concerned with the welfare of children should be red-flagged and monitored closely until the issues are resolved. This is where the resources of CYF should be targeted. In 2004, most of the notifications made to CYF were for children not previously known to the agency. In 2014, six out of ten notifications were for children the agency already knew about. Many of these children had extensive history with the agency – on average, these children had engaged with CYF on three previous occasions,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“It may also be that some agencies are not accessing the information they should be to make an informed decision in the best interests of children, and we would call for a review of privacy laws relating to adults who are in any way involved with children so that agencies and the public are aware of the background of adults who are a risk to children. Privacy rights of offenders should not trump the rights of children to be protected.”

“The finger is often pointed at communities to do more and speak up, but the law must also reflect the revulsion that NZ families have towards adults who are obviously a danger to children and should not be in any ‘caregiver’ capacity.”

“Moko’s case shows that we still are not properly focusing on protecting children from rotten parents and caregivers who have already proved that they’re a danger to children.”

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