Torture mum wanted compo

By Catherine Masters

Photo / ThinkStock
Photo / ThinkStock

The mother jailed last week for the "torture" of her daughter had written to Prime Minister John Key asking if the girl was entitled to compensation for allegedly being sexually abused while with whanau caregivers approved by Child, Youth and Family.

The girl had been removed from the mother as a baby and, according to the ministerial report into her case, had led a fairly stable existence for a few years with a caregiver who was not related to the family.

But then she was put into the care of CYF-approved whanau caregivers and later claimed she had been sexually abused.

A whanau caregiver was charged with sexual abuse but the Weekend Herald understands that the charges have been dropped.

After the mother's sentencing last week, CYF conceded it could have done better managing her case and the ministerial report, written by former Ombudsman Mel Smith, makes a range of recommendations.

These include a call for urgent evaluation of a guiding principle of the Child, Young Persons and their Families Act which encourages that, where possible, children are cared for by whanau.

In his report, Mr Smith acknowledged that managing a case like the girl's involved "a complicatedlabyrinth of relationships, assessments and critical decisions".

There must be better sharing of information among critical agencies, he said, and there must be urgent evaluation and research on what is known as "kin placement".

The best interests of the child are a cornerstone of the law but Mr Smith said he encountered a concern among professionals that too often the wishes of a parent or parents, or whanau, prevailed.

"It is also apparent that [the mother] has learned from her experiences with agencies over many years first to ensure that she received the attention that she believed she deserved, sometimes at the expense of her daughter ..."

- NZ Herald

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