Today a 25-year-old man and 23-year-old woman have been sentenced to supervision and community work after pleading guilty to four charges each of failing to provide medical care and adequate food and nutrition for their four children.
They have been granted name suppression to protect the identity of their children who remain in Child, Youth and Family care.
Police were called to a Hutt Valley address on Friday 4 January to find a fairly chaotic scene. A number of adults were intoxicated, the children were unsupervised and their parents seemed unwilling to look after them.
All nine of the children at the property were removed using emergency powers under the Children, Young Persons at their Families Act 1989 as Police believed it was critically necessary to protect the children from injury.
The children were taken by Police to the Lower Hutt Police Station where Child, Youth and Family social workers attended and a family member agreed to provide temporary care of the children.
On the morning of Saturday 5 January, Child, Youth and Family social workers visited the children to check on the arrangements and to reiterate that the four children of the parents who have been sentenced today should not return to their care. Social workers advised the family member to contact Child, Youth and Family if their parents sought to have the children back in their care.
When social workers returned to the family member's address on Monday 7 January they learnt that the children had returned to their parent's care. This was also confirmed by a visit by Police to the parent's house the same day where two of the children were present.
Both agencies remained concerned about the welfare of the children and on Tuesday 8 January, Police began the process of looking to charge the parents with neglect.
This was brought to a joint planning session with Child, Youth and Family the next day. On Thursday 10 January, the parents were arrested and the children were placed in Child, Youth and Family care.
Once officers were inside the house they could fully appreciate the sparse conditions which included no suitable bedding, no food or baby formula and drug utensils in the kitchen.
Child, Youth and Family were also able to arrange medical examinations for the children which revealed the significant medical neglect including extensive scabies.
Inspector Mike Hill, Hutt Valley Police Area Commander, says "Many members of the Hutt Valley community were rightly appalled that local kids were growing up in conditions like this.
"We all want children to grow up in homes where they are warm, fed and taken to the doctor when they are sick. Keeping kids safe is everyone's responsibility and I would encourage anyone who is worried about a child to speak up".
"This was not an issue of poverty for this family, these parents simply prioritised alcohol, drugs and parties ahead of the needs of their children".
Child, Youth and Family is arranging long-term care solutions for the children.
For media queries please contact Nick Bohm, Wellington District Communications Manager, on 027 559 2235.