"A decision to place two vulnerable children with special guardians they did not know, and who later went on to abuse them, has been criticised by a serious case review for being based on optimism instead of evidence."
"Two children – both under five and with various physical and learning disabilities – were placed with the couple and abused in the year following guardianship and supervision orders being made."
"The couple, Ms L and Mr K, had been together three years and Ms L was a distant relative to the children. Both were said to be involved in supporting the birth parents but did not know the children personally."
"The children had been removed from the care of their parents, who had learning disabilities, in 2012 after Oxfordshire council children’s services said they were unable to continue caring for the oldest, Child A."
"The youngest, Child B, was removed at birth and they both lived in separate foster care placements until Child B was placed with the paternal grandmother. She wanted to continue to care for Child B, but the local authority decided she was unable to provide permanent long-term care due to concerns about the care of her own son (Child B’s father), agency involvement with her care of Child B’s aunt and her use of alcohol and a violent partner living in the home."
"The children were placed with Ms L and Mr K in April 2014, until the abuse was discovered in March 2015. Mr K was convicted of physically abusing both children and of raping one."
"The serious case review said the `grotesque` abuse of the children could not have been predicted but found serious flaws in the assessment of the two guardians."
"`Neither of the special guardians had any experience of parenting, nor any experience of looking after children with substantial disabilities and disadvantages. They almost drifted into the children’s lives yet became their legal parents,` the review said."