Why we need an independent CYF Complaints Authority

Covered by 60 Minutes

The coroner has launched an investigation into how a teenage girl in Child, Youth and Family care went on to kill. Tonia Bennett burnt down the house of her ex-boyfriend’s mother in 2007, killing Lynette Chapman. A TV3’s 60 minutes investigation raised questions about the care given to Bennett, and now the coroner is investigating too. The investigation is a breakthrough for a whistle blower who says she was never listened to. “I’m hoping the truth will come out and I’m absolutely ecstatic for the family and for the truth to be told,” says former Youthlink House parent Claire Bennett.

Back then, Child Youth and Family investigated, and found they’d done everything they could. “Right throughout there was no lack of effort or planning or resourcing for Tonia, the great tragedy here is that Tonia Bennett committed a crime,” she says. But in documents obtained by 3 News, Coroner Morag McDowell says; “I can confirm that I have opened an inquiry into the cause and circumstances of the death of Ms Lynette Chapman, and that part of my inquiries are directed to the supervision of Ms Bennett.” “I shall be considering next steps in the coroner’s process – including whether this matter should proceed to public inquest.”

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