Report: Failings In IOW Children's Services

A review has found that 'severe trauma' to a baby on the Isle of Wight could have been prevented by the council's children's services.

Three-month-old 'Baby T' was taken to St Mary's Hospital in the summer of 2012 with injuries which, according to a report, are likely to have been caused by shaking.

Reports were published on Wednesday 5 November 2013 by the Isle of Wight Safeguarding Children Board following two serious case reviews.

The full overview report has been published for one case (Baby T).  For the second case, the Safeguarding Children Board has published the findings and recommendations. The Board considers that providing more of the information and analysis relating to this Serious Case Review would significantly compromise the welfare of children involved.

The reviews found that, although in both cases, examples of good practice were demonstrated by some agencies, areas of weakness were revealed on the part of others’. Recommendations for improvement are detailed in the published reports.

The island's Local Safeguarding Children Board says improvements to child protection services have been made since, but more still needs to be done. They've made a number of recommendations.

The newly appointed Chair of the Isle of Wight Safeguarding Children Board, Maggie Blyth, said:

“Whenever a child has been the victim of harm it is deeply distressing and a cause of great sadness. It is vital therefore that the events leading to such situations and the actions of the professionals involved are thoroughly scrutinised.

“Protecting vulnerable children is the responsibility of many agencies and the reports of their involvement in these two cases have been considered by the independent review panels which have examined how they responded in each case and identified whether more could have been done to protect the children involved.

“In January 2013 an Ofsted inspection found child protection arrangements on the Isle of Wight to be failing and judged them 'inadequate’. The two reviews published today relate to incidents that occurred before the inspection so it is therefore not surprising that the review findings mirror those of Ofsted. In January 2013 the government issued Children’s Services with an improvement direction.

"It is acknowledged that since January 2013 however, a great deal of work has taken place to strengthen children’s social care on the island, including the implementation of a range of measures to improve front line services.

"It is self-evident however, that there are no quick fixes to these problems and time will be needed to ensure sustained improvement. I am sure that the messages from these reviews will contribute to that improvement. We owe that much to the children concerned. 

“The Isle of Wight Safeguarding Children Board will be working closely with all partner agencies to ensure the recommendations from these two serious case reviews are taken forward without delay.”

Read the full report here.

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