Former All Black Norm Hewitt says people concerned about children born to parents who already have children in state care should let their views be known.

The call comes after the release of two Families Commission reports that look at the issue of children born into families where Child Youth and Family (CYF) have removed previous children from the parents' care because of abuse.

The issue is critical, because of all the children placed in CYF care, nearly half had a sibling who had previously been removed, the commission said.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett asked for the reports after the death of Morrinsville toddler Hail-Sage McClutchie, who died last year after suffering serious head injuries.


The toddler's parents had previously had two children removed from their care but CYF said it had no involvement with the 22-month-old girl because it did not know they had had another child.

The Families Commission research looked at previous studies, and recommended improved information sharing between agencies, improved reporting processes and a consideration of mandatory reporting, among other measures.

Mandatory reporting was among the more controversial recommendations in the Government's Green Paper on Vulnerable Children, released last July.

Ms Bennett, who is on a fortnight-long tour of the country to gather community feedback on that discussion document, today said she was getting the sense that people were in favour of mandatory reporting.

Norm Hewitt today said New Zealanders with ideas about how to protect babies born to families with children already in CYF care should "tell it to the Green Paper".

Hewitt said today's Families Commission reports made recommendations but also asked questions - many of which involved areas of concern covered by the Green Paper, such as how closely vulnerable families were monitored.

"This is not a new issue, and we want New Zealanders to tell us what they know works from their own experience. We know there's a wealth of knowledge out there.

"Should there be ongoing monitoring so agencies can offer support and know early-on when another child is expected? Should there be better information sharing and improved reporting? What practices do you think would work to keep children in these families safe?"


Chief Families Commissioner Carl Davidson said issues such as mandatory reporting, monitoring of children and families, and the degree to which the state should be involved in families' lives were all raised by the commission's studies.

"These are crucial, and yes, sometimes controversial questions. But, for the sake of our children, they must not be shied away from. They need to be tackled with openness, integrity and with the welfare of children uppermost."

Mr Davidson said children coming into families from which previous children had been removed were more easily identifiable when cases were still active with social services.

"Intensive support can then be wrapped around families or whanau to ensure the best possible outcomes for all. This means a long-term commitment to walk alongside them to achieve sustainable change and keep track of how the family is doing," he said.