Police and social workers have been criticised after a little girl was put back into the care of her abusive stepmother.Yeah, you didn’t misread that; ‘back into the care of…’
The little girl was born in Portugal in 2002 before being moved to the UK at the age of three.So she moved here in 2005; when did the abuse begin?
She lived in an overcrowded house in Lewisham and was subjected to a catalogue of abuse at the hands of her father's new girlfriend.
Pretty much immediately:
The first signs of harm came in November 2005 when someone living with the child reported a case of domestic abuse. A few months later a health visitor noticed a bruise on the child's face.And here’s the ‘But…’ that you know was coming:
In October 2006 Ms G hit the child and was cautioned for common assault. This prompted Children's Social Care to move the three-year-old to live with "a family friend" where she was said to have "flourished".
However, a social worker "apparently without the authority of a manager" began planning overnight stays at the step-mum's house.And the authorities moved with the glacial speed we are now all familiar with:
By early February 2007 the youngster was back living with Ms G and only months later she was telling a school teacher her step-mum had been hitting her.
After a further complaint of punching was made in November 2007, police investigated but took no action.Huh..?
Following further incidents of "slapping" and claims from the child to social workers that "she slept on the floor", she was transferred into the care of her natural mother.And now the report is out:
The report, published by the council's local safeguarding children board, said "poor" decision-making by social workers contributed to the blunders.Oh, no s***, Sherlocks..!
It also stated: "A failure of communication within the Police Service meant the investigating officer remained unaware Ms G had previously been cautioned for an assault against child J."And, presumably, also unaware that the child had been removed from the stepmother’s care on a previous occasion?
The paper doesn’t report what action is being taken against the people involved. I wonder why..?
Nothing about lessons being learnt ?
If you think the state of affairs is piss-poor now, wait until they start policing home-schooled children next year. As Ben Grey, Assessments and Interventions Manager for a Cambridgeshire-based children's charity (and a qualified Social Worker to boot) has warned: "Simply visiting more children, without any identified concern is not going to protect children. If the principle problem therefore is not 'seeing the wood for the trees', the solution is not to create more trees. It will not help protect children for professionals simply to go fishing for concerns; it will rather distract and create 'noise' (irrelevant information) from the task of properly investigating concerns that do arise, and ensuring that those children are safe."
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