'We want our four-month-old daughter back and some time to look for other options', says Indian couple whose child was removed by Child, Youth and Family on February 20

The couple presently in Christchurch, who recently lost an appeal seeking refugee status in the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, is alleging that their daughter is continuously sick while in care of Child, Youth and Family, and no proper medication is being given to her. “The Social Worker in-charge also has no idea about the child's health,” said the woman. “Ever since our child was removed, we have not being advised by anyone from Child, Youth and Family on the next course of action. We are in complete dark about what is going on. And being migrants and new to this country, we don't know how things work here,” she added.

“Also, we were promised that we would have visiting rights on weekends, as our daughter is only four-month-old. But that is not happening, and the reason our social worker is giving us is that there is no one available on weekends to bring our daughter for visitation,” the woman added.

Meanwhile, Child, Youth and Family, when contacted denied the allegations.

Child, Youth and Family Te Waipounamu Regional Director, Ms Theresa Perham informed, “Child, Youth and Family can confirm that we have taken a four month old child into care in response to serious concerns regarding the baby’s safety. We are continuing to work with the baby’s family; however it is essential that the child’s safety is the absolute priority. Ministry staff are working closely with the parents and have been talking with them on a daily basis. For the past two weeks contact between parents and child has occurred daily each week day.”

“The child was taken to the doctor’s on 22 February and medication was prescribed. Her parents and social worker were present at the doctor’s appointment. This child is doing well with a Child, Youth and Family caregiver,” she added.

The Indian High Commission in Wellington when contacted regarding the case, has this to say in an email reply, “The couple had never approached us in the past and nor has done so even after this development [removal of the child by CYF on February 20]. We came to know of the case from the Child Youth and Family Services Office and we have advised them that the child should be in the custody of the parents.”

- This newspaper has decided not to name the couple for privacy reasons.

- The print version of this story didn't have the replies by Child, Youth and Family, as well by the Indian High Commission. As noted in the print story, we have updated the story after we have received their respective replies.

Update: The Migrant Times has been informed by the couple mentioned in the story that their daughter was returned to them by Child, Youth and Family on the morning of March 9, 2016.