A number of people contacted Oranga Tamariki with concerns about the welfare of Auckland toddler Malcolm Bell before he suffered the suspected abuse-related injuries that killed him.
Malcolm was just 16 months old when he died on June 29.
He was rushed to Starship Hospital six days earlier with serious injuries.
Doctors assessed the boy and, believing the injuries were not accidental, notified police.
Malcolm was one of six children and all of his siblings had previously been taken from his mother and are now in foster or whanau care.
After Malcolm died a homicide investigation was launched.
A 51-year-old man was later charged with murdering Malcolm and appeared in the Auckland District Court last week.
He was granted name suppression until at least his next appearance in the High Court at Auckland.
Malcolm's mother Savanna Bell was in court to see the man charged with ending her son's life.
She has not been charged in relation to his death.
The Herald understands that in the weeks leading up to Malcolm's fatal injuries, at least two of his family members contacted Oranga Tamariki with concerns about his welfare.
Until today Oranga Tamariki would not be drawn on Malcolm's death, citing the police investigation.
However central Auckland regional manager Anna Palmer spoke on the matter when questioned by the Herald.
"Our social workers were aware that people were worried about Malcolm's situation, and were working to provide support to him and his whānau prior to his death," she said.
"The tragic death of Malcolm Bell has affected many, and our thoughts are with those who loved him."
Palmer could not go into the specifics of the concerns raised or speak further to the involvement OT has had with Savanna Bell in relation to any of her children.
But she confirmed his case and care would be scrutinised.
"We will be gathering information to understand if anything could have been done differently, and what we can learn from this tragedy.
"Malcolm's death has also been referred to a coroner who will look into the wider circumstances.
"The coroner will consider whether there are lessons that can be learned for the future."
Oranga Tamariki receives 90,000 "Reports of Concerns" about babies, children and young people each year.
"When they are received we need to assess the level of risk and make decisions about what action to take to help keep tamariki safe," Palmer said.
"This is not an easy assessment, and often includes working with other agencies to see what support can be offered.
"It can be difficult to engage with some families because of challenges like transience and complex issues such as addiction."
Savanna Bell has refused to speak to the Herald.
"I have had legal advice and I will not be speaking to the media," she said in June said when approached for comment.
Peters: Three Māori babies killed since uproar over Oranga Tamariki uplift
Her Facebook page, deactivated after her son's name was released following his death, had numerous posts about Malcolm.
"Watching you grow makes me so happy," she wrote.
"Your first word was mama I was so happy when I heard you say mama.
"You have an awesome personality my son Malcolm your (sic) growing every single day and night ... I love you always my son."
After news broke of the 51-year-old's arrest and murder charge, his brother spoke to the Herald.
He said the man had been "wrongfully accused".
The 51-year-old was said to be "shocked and horrified" that he had been charged.
The brother said the 51-year-old had been "wrongfully accused".
In May Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft announced a review into Oranga Tamariki's child uplift policies relating to care and protection issues for Māori babies.
It follows controversy over the attempted uplift last month of a young Māori mother's baby from Hawke's Bay Hospital.
The "thematic review" will look specifically at policies around Māori infants aged 0-3 months.
Judge Becroft said while the review would initially focus on the 0-3 months age group, he could not rule out extending the review to older children.
He said his office had a statutory mandate to investigate.
"If we didn't do it we would be asleep at the wheel," he said.
The same day Judge Becroft announced his review, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced an internal inquiry by Oranga Tamariki into its processes, specifically around the Hasting family's case.
Since the announcement, three Maori children have been killed in alleged abuse-related incidents.
Last night Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters weighed in on the issue, saying some criticisms against Oranga Tamariki are unfair.
Peters was responding to questions about a planned rally at Parliament today by a group trying to stop Oranga Tamariki putting Māori babies into state care – or as the Hands Off Our Tamariki Network calls it, "stealing Māori children."
"If you ask me personally what my view is let me say that three Māori children have been killed since this issue broke," he said at a post-Cabinet press conference in the Beehive yesterday.
"I don't see many headlines about that and that's a tragedy."