A coronial inquest into the death of Hail-Sage McClutchie ended this morning with a heart-felt plea from her aunty for communities to protect not only vulnerable children but "vulnerable parents".
Desi Walker, who is the sister to Hail-Sage's mother Kelly Percy, spoke through tears at the inquiry at the Hamilton District Court about how the 22-month-old girl had been "fully funded by the taxpayer" since birth.
"Her birth and death were fully-funded by the taxpayer...all of New Zealand had a vested interest in this child," said Ms Walker, in her submission.
"Her future was a future full of possibilities."
Ms Walker took aim at the welfare system which she had become like a "battered person".
"In saying that we can't blame a system created by people and it needs to be checked.
Sometimes we need to ask the hard questions and we need to be invasive."
"We hear about how another child has fallen through the gaps...unless something is done to shore up the gaps...improve their education and...the same problems will happen over again causing the same heartache."
"In my opinion we only have vulnerable children because they're surrounded by vulnerable adults. Something needs to be addressed with the vulnerable adults who hold their children's futures in their hands."
Coroner Peter Ryan grilled Child, Youth and Family's chief social worker Paul Nixon on its information sharing with other government agencies. During the inquest it was revealed that CYF had no knowledge of Hail-Sage's birth despite Ms Percy's other child in its care.
Hail-Sage's mother Kelly Percy picked her up from her caregiver and grandmother Delia Percy in Hamilton about 10 days before her death.
The 22-month-old began vomiting about five days later after several falls, unusual for a normally agile girl.
She had a seizure and was admitted to Waikato Hospital but died at 3.25am on September 27, 2010.
Hospital staff reported non-accidental head injuries to police, who began a homicide investigation about three weeks later.
But despite intensive inquiries that saw overseas forensic pathologists called on for their expertise, no one has been charged over the toddler's death.
Hail-Sage's death prompted 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.
Coroner Ryan has reserved his findings.