30 Aug 2012

CYF cleared over inquiry into baby's death

3:40 pm on 30 August 2012

A review of Child, Youth and Family's involvement with a woman jailed for suffocating her two-month-old baby while drunk has found there were no gaps in its policy and procedure.

In May, Ngaire Tukiwaho pleaded guilty in the Rotorua High Court to manslaughter for neglecting to keep her son Tahi Elvis Edwards safe and was jailed for two years and one month.

The 31-year-old mother-of-five fell asleep in a car and the boy suffocated on 5 January this year after slipping from her shoulder.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett asked for an investigation into his death in May, saying the situation was disturbing.

An executive summary of the review was released on Thursday afternoon and says the family was not well-known to the service.

It says there was a pattern of substance abuse in the family and the baby's mother needed intervention, but no family member or professional sought help for her.

Another child of Tukiwaho's, also aged two months, died from sudden infant death syndrome in 2008.

Child, Youth and Family says it was not told of any concerns for Tahi Edwards. An inquest into his death was held in Rotorua on Thursday.