The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says.
“The fact that CYF is refusing to share how involved the agency was – or wasn’t –in the lives of the children involved in the tragic death of Arun Kumar raises suspicions that alerts regarding family violence referrals are being overlooked or worse, ignored.
“We now know that CYF had received about 20 notifications in relation to the 14-year-old’s family, but we don’t know what follow up occurred as a result of those notifications. Roughly 10 of them were notifications for family violence.
"CYF has seen a six-fold increase in its reported number of notifications over the last 15 years.
“There have been some suggestions that the almost 58,000 family violence referrals CYF received from police last year are simply clogging the system, yet all the evidence points to the fact that family violence has an enormous impact on children.
“We can’t allow CYF to become the agency that simply removes children rather than preventing harm in the first place. It is family violence referrals that alert support agencies to where that harm is occurring.
“The public deserves to know what role CYF played in this case. If they simply were too stretched, that’s a story that needs to be told.
“There will never be an excuse for the kind of tragic outcomes we have seen in this case, but we do need to look for the lessons that can be learned to try and prevent similar harm being done in the future,” Jacinda Ardern says.