Failed by the system: 25 abused children die under the noses of British social workers

They're too busy harassing middle class families for imaginary offences -- e.g. here

Twenty-five children have died and dozens more been seriously injured despite being known to social services, an Ofsted report reveals.

Vulnerable youngsters are let down in ‘too many’ cases by professionals who fail to listen to the concerns of grandparents, neighbours and even fathers, it says. In four of the cases, grandparents reported concerns but this did not lead to effective action.

Local authorities and other agencies failed to learn lessons from the Baby P scandal, the report shows. He was found dead, aged 17 months, in a blood-splattered cot having suffered a broken back and fractured ribs in August 2007.

Ofsted assessed 67 serious case reviews (SCRs) between April 1 and September 30 last year involving 93 children. Thirty-nine had died. SCRs, carried out by safeguarding boards, are triggered after a death or serious injury, where abuse or neglect is suspected. They can come as much as two years after an incident.

Of the 93 children, 70 were known to social services. Twenty-five of these died, including four who were subject to active child protection plans.

Ofsted warned that too often the focus on the child was ‘lost’ as they were not seen by the professionals involved or not visited regularly enough. In some cases, the child was seen but not questioned and there was often an ‘over reliance’ on what the parents claimed.

In a case involving a family of seven children, a grandmother had repeatedly contacted social carers alleging sexual and physical abuse of her grandchildren by their stepfather. Ofsted said that this failed to trigger child protection procedures. It was not until more than a decade later that disclosures were made by the eldest children, revealing the abuse that had taken place.

A tendency by agencies to overlook the role of fathers, male partners and other men living within families was also a ‘common theme’, the report said.

Referring to one case, it added: ‘One of the children, living with the mother, was sexually abused by the mother’s partner. ‘The father passed information many times to children’s services and to the police that the mother’s partner was a registered sex offender and had unrestricted access to the children.’ The SCR found that although steps were taken to ‘monitor or restrict access’, the father was ‘not properly listened to’.

The watchdog said that warning signs were also ignored when parents and carers refused access to their homes.

It added: ‘A lesson from some of the SRCs was that practitioners had not listened sufficiently to the child or had not paid enough attention to their needs. ‘They had focused too much on the parents, especially when the parents were vulnerable.’

It highlighted a case where a baby suffered skull fractures even though the family was known to agencies due to the mother’s alcohol abuse. Meanwhile, signs of grooming by a sex offender and the ‘significance of domestic violence’ were sometimes ‘overlooked’.

A teenager had been the subject of internet images in which she was sexually assaulted. She and her brother had been ill-treated by their mother and sexually abused by their uncle. The family was known to agencies in three local authorities where they had lived and there had been ‘sufficient information’ for the abuse to be recognised.

Christine Gilbert, Ofsted’s chief inspector of schools, said: ‘It’s shocking to see that too often children in vulnerable situations are not heard by those who should be looking out for their interests.’


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