CYF can expect to be the whipping boy as we head into the election

Child Youth and Family is to review how it handled a case where five children were so badly neglected they had to eat rotten food.

“CYF received reports of concern in relation to the family prior to 2015 and we worked with the family on the presenting issues alongside other agencies,” CYF Auckland regional director Sharon Thom told Fairfax in a written statement.

“In 2015 when the children were found neglected home alone, they immediately came into CYF care and the mother was charged.”

Now the kids “are thriving with whanau caregivers”, Thom said.

Their mother, Tala Pita, 33, of Manurewa, was today sentenced at the Manukau District Court to six months community detention and 18 months intensive supervision for five charges of wilful neglect.

She’ll also have a curfew from 7pm to 7am during her community sentence.

Judge Gus Andree Wiltens told Pita: “You deserted them and left them to their own devices.”

The court heard that Pita often left her children at home on their own in September and October 2015.

The cupboards were bare but for mouldy bread and corned beef. They had to eat the bread because there was nothing else to eat.

CYF would “review whether everything that could have been done was done for this family” after an independent expert panel that reviewed the case found CYF should have intervened earlier, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley told Fairfax.

Ministers like Tolley won’t be able to turn CYF around in time for it to turn into votes so the department will have to put up with a number of public embarrassments where the Minister can shine as being tough and uncompromising.


– Stuff