Friday, 9 October 2015

Child protection still has a blinkered approach


Chair: Susan O’Brien QC

Dr. Helen Hammond

Moira McKinnon

"The baby’s father, Alexander Ness, went to trial, charged with assault and murder."

"Eventually, in February 2003, he pled guilty to culpable homicide. It was accepted that he could establish diminished responsibility caused by brain injuries he had sustained some months before the baby was born. He had met the mother, Shirley Malcolm, in the autumn of 2000, soon after being released from prison on licence after serving most of a five year sentence for drug related offences. His earlier criminal history included a conviction for very serious assault of an adult."

"A Child Protection Case Conference was held while the baby was still in hospital on 9 August 2001. Caleb was put on the Child Protection Register. Later, he went home with his mother. It was well known that his father would be visiting often, although he was not actually living with the mother. No further decision or formal review of risk took place before the baby died."

"The Inquiry has reached the conclusion that this was an avoidable child death. Having reviewed all the evidence, we believe that neither parent should have had unsupervised care of Caleb."

"No single individual should be held responsible. We identified fault at almost every level in every agency involved. Many concerned professionals did their best for this family, but too many operated from within a narrow perspective without full appreciation of the wider picture. We are concerned that, two years after Caleb’s death, there is still complacency about this blinkered approach to child protection, particularly at a management level."

"We are aware that many of our recommendations are not new, and that many have been made before, in earlier reports and reviews. However, we believe that this report highlights some specific problems in the interface between adult and child services, particularly in the fields of brain injury and substance misuse."

It was an avoidable death but no single individual should be held responsible ?

Susan O’Brien QC is to chair the Scottish child abuse inquiry. It is beginning to look like Susan O`Brien is a `safe pair of hands.`

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