A baby was found dead in his pushchair in front of a blazing gas fire – his body charred and burned – after social services missed 17 chances to save him.
Alex Sutherland, aged 13 months, had been dead for at least three days, according to a harrowing report published yesterday.
You need not read any more than that; the horror was almost too much for me this morning , I dare not share it with Mrs. Tomrat.
What is wrong with people? I see the exact same destructive tendencies in some of the "families" our youth group belong to - it is an abuse of the word in many cases, with the occasional heartening case where families are simply doing everything they can with the little they have.
He said there was a lack of communication and joined-up working between agencies and he highlighted problems, with under-trained social workers and a ‘tick box’ mentality.
‘No single agency was responsible for failing to protect Child T from the chronic neglect which he suffered at the hands of his mother, but rather he was the victim of the multiple failures of all those agencies … to recognise the risks to which he was exposed and to take appropriate action.’
Pauline Newman, the city council’s director of Children’s Services, said it was clear ‘there were areas where we could have done better’.
She added: ‘We have carried out an extensive programme of work since this little boy died to ensure that staff fully understand the lessons that need to be taken on board from this tragedy.’
I'm not trying to absolve the mother of her horrible crime which should see her in jail for much longer than she has been given, but isn't the "lessons are being learned" excuse just getting a little tired? In a personal capacity I see this exact same 'horse:bolted' attitude throughout the social services almost as much as I do in the papers and it wore thin some 30 excuses ago.
You want some real lessons learned? Amend the Childrens Act and related documents so that it doesn't protect the authorities, only the families involved; injustices like this don't help the cause of child welfare when the state is happy to challenge unconventional lifestyle choices but not the destructive ones of their own creation.
Immediately fire every social worker, child protection bod and anyone else involved in social services or is a member of one of these myriad organisations who never seem to be directly responsible for any of these events but are learning a lot from them in what must surely be a cross between car crash television and an open university show and immediately fold them and all-comers into one agency; the police - form a specialist group within a publicly accountable, elected chief-led, police service to deal with this with police powers; at worst no one can mitigate the blame for such events across the old, lame "no one agency was to blame" excuse; I'm sure in this age of austerity the co-attrition would be happy to save the cash on executive jobsworths' in multiple social services.
Finally recognise that these abuses occur, by and large, by families fathered by the state; they consist predominantly of groups who treat their kids like proverbial meal tickets and derive their economic and social activity directly from the state, and the sins of the father, it's abuses and it's lawlessness is rubbing off; removing people wholesale from the states coat tails and forcing them to take care of themselves would be a good place to start - perhaps here.
None of this will stop bad parenting; only bad parents can stop this, but ye gods is it really so much to ask that when the state dips it oar unto every aspect of our lives it takes some flaming responsibility for the fallout?