Weekend's most read: Pregnant women refusing prenatal care after children taken by social services

This story was first published on Sunday September 16.

More than 6000 children are in the care of Oranga Tamaraki – a 22 per cent increase from six years ago. Source: 1 NEWS

Health professionals say women whose children have been taken by social services are refusing to seek prenatal care when they fall pregnant for fear of having their newborns taken, too.

One Kaitaia couple, Mary and Warren, had their first child taken into care by social services because of domestic violence and mental health problems.

Mary believes social services' decision to remove their child from their care was fair at the time, but she claims they "also said that I'd be able to get him back and that I'd get a house in six months".

When Mary became pregnant for a second time, it was six months before she sought prenatal care.

Mary and Warren's fears were realised when their second child was taken from them at birth, with Oranga Tamariki saying their baby was at risk.

"I just cried and wouldn't give her to them. The nurse actually had to take her off me," she said.

The couple's children are among more than 6000 New Zealand kids under the care of Oranga Tamariki this year – a 22 per cent increase on the number of children in care six years ago.

The agency says it only takes such drastic action when there are concerns of a serious nature, and only when all other options have been explored.

However, Northland midwife Colleen Brown is concerned the move is putting pregnant mothers off seeking help.

"There is no way, unless you are gonna go bush and have your pepe (baby), that you are gonna keep that pepe," Ms Brown said.

1 NEWS has spoken to several pregnant mothers who are considered at risk.

Some are expecting mothers who would like help with their drug and alcohol abuse but have not reached out for help out of fear of losing their children. Some have children who have already been removed from their care.

But Oranga Tamariki says those who do not seek help are putting their babies at further risk.

Deanne 'Dee' McManus-Emery, the regional manager for Oranga Tamariki South Auckland, says, "We are hearing stories from our families that we do know, but we're also hearing it from our community organisations, colleagues and also our health providers".

"What we're trying to do is work in partnership with those providers, ensuring that there is a jointed approach to ensure the right support services are wrapped around them," Ms McManus-Emery explained.

"We certainly would want families to be accessing their prenatal care because that gives children the best start in life."

Ms Brown is urging mothers with fears of losing their child "to take ownership of it" and get the help they need.

"They need to come forward because there is help available for them," she said.

Mary and Warren visit their children twice a week and are working with social agencies to get them back permanently.

"I'd like our kids back. I’d like to be given a chance," Warren said.



Jacinda Ardern outlines Government's top 12 priorities for New Zealand over next 30 years

The Prime Minister has announced 12 priorities as part of a 30-year plan that will be a focus of the Government's ongoing work.

Jacinda Ardern outlined the plan during a speech in Auckland today.

"The Coalition Government’s long-term plan is a blueprint which sets out our priorities and the steps we are taking to build a more modern and fairer New Zealand that we can all be proud of," says Ms Ardern.

"This plan represents our shared vision and priorities; Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens. It establishes the foundation for the Government’s work and includes issues of particular importance to each of the parties which are supported by all of them.

"Our Government has a firm eye on the future. That's why our plan is looking 30 years ahead, not just three."

The Government's 12 priorities are: 

- To grow and share more fairly New Zealand's prosperity

- Supporting thriving and sustainable regions

- Transitioning to a clean, green carbon neutral New Zealand

- Delivering responsible government with a broader measure of success

- Ensuring that everyone is either earning, learning, caring or volunteering

- Supporting healthier, safer and more connected communities

- Ensuring everyone has a warm, dry home

- Making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child

- Committing to deliver transparent, transformative, and compassionate government

- Building closer partnerships with Māori

- Valuing who we are as a country

- Creating an international reputation we can be proud of

The Prime Minister gave details of the Government plan during a speech in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

SH1 Desert Road closed after stock truck rolls

Part of the North Island's Desert Road  (SH1) has been closed after a stock truck rolled today.

Emergency services were called to the scene near Paradise Valley Road at 1.10pm.

The truck driver was uninjured following the incident but cattle are on the road.

A vet is in attendance to attend to the animals.

Diversions are in place and motorists have been asked to avoid the area and delay travel if possible.

The road is expected to closed for some time while the scene is cleared.

A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Man charged with murder after fatal stabbing of woman, 28, in Christchurch

A man has been charged with murder following last night's fatal stabbing of a woman, 28, on Ilam Road, Christchurch.

Police say the man, 52, has also been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He remains in Christchurch Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Another man, a 31-year-old, remains in Christchurch Hospital in a serious but stable condition after the incident.

Police have confirmed to media today that 52-year-old man turned the knife on himself, Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Anderson said.

Police say although the investigation is still in its early days those involved were known to each other and Police are not seeking anyone else over the incident.

Police say although the investigation is still in its early days those involved were known to each other and Police are not seeking anyone else over the incident.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz
What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
Healthline: 0800 611 116
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Detective Inspector Scott Anderson spoke about the incident on Ilam Road. Source: 1 NEWS


Elderly woman missing on Auckland's Waiheke Island found safe and well

An elderly woman who went missing on Auckland's Waiheke Island yesterday has been found safe and well.

Sylvia Henley, who has Alzheimer's disease, was last seen yesterday morning.

Ms Henley was found by a local resident, who alerted police at around 9.25am today.

Source: NZ Police