A Whanganui family's story about how their 8-week-old-baby was taken from them after a social worker thought she smelled cannabis is sparking national attention.
Family First New Zealand is calling for a fully independent complaints authority as a watchdog on the state agency Ministry of Vulnerable Children (Oranga Tamariki).
In the Chronicle's story on Wednesday parents Freyja and Laurence Maisey spoke out about how they were falsely accused of being druggies and had their baby boy taken from them with no warning and no explanation.
National director of Family First NZ Bob McCoskrie said the family's experience has again brought this issue to the fore.
"We must have a mechanism that ensures two things - that families who have been notified to the new ministry as being at-risk are actually monitored in an appropriate way, but also to prevent abuse of families by the State."
He said the police have an independent complaints authority - the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) and this was the type of watchdog needed for Oranga Tamariki.
"Both the Greens and NZ First support an independent agency with the Greens rightly saying that there is a lot of potential for things to go wrong in child protection and, just like the police, there really does need to be independent oversight."
But he said the success of any complaints authority would depend on its independence.
"It must have legislative independence, operational independence, and the perception of independence, similar to the IPCA."
Mr McCoskrie said it would also be in the best interest of social workers because it would provide an independent body to ensure appropriate policy and procedures have been followed.
"This will result in public confidence and accountability for actions and decisions by social workers."
A poll in 2011 found 65 per cent supported the need for an independent watchdog for Child Youth and Family, while 20 per cent were opposed.
The Masieys' story has created a social media storm on Facebook with people appalled with the treatment this Whanganui family received.
Helena Allen said: A gross misconduct of judgmental Justice. This is an absolute travesty. What happened to these agencies working towards supporting keeping families together? All this does is stops struggling young families from wanting agencies who are meant to be there to provide support after child birth from entering their homes! Disgusting.
Layce Madams said: So sad that this family had to go through that trauma.
Amina Ahmad said: Some social workers need to look at other cases where children in care are sent to school in their pyjamas and with no breakfast all because they didn't get ready in time how sad is that.
Tina Hart said: It's Wanganui, and unfortunately there are people that think they're above the law and think they know it when in reality they don't and cause a lot of families hurt and stress and don't think about the effect it has on the kids.