Yet another serious case review was released yesterday afternoon (19th October 2015) by Haringey Local Safeguarding Children Board. The review took place following the suicide of a teenager in January 2014.
Child O took her own life just before her 17th birthday and was known to social services at Labour-run Haringey Council.
The latest review states there was ‘repeatedly confusion and inactivity’ (8.1.9 page 31) by Haringey Children's Services and the ‘management of the case appears to have been in disarray’ (8.1.9. page 31).
There have already been two serious case reviews published this year about children known to Haringey Council.
The new review into the case of Child O states that issues raised by a previous review from 2010/11 were also a problem in this latest case (1.9 page 5). The report goes on to say that various agencies have not learned lessons from previous cases of abuse and deaths of children known to Haringey Social Services. In fact, the review says there are ‘very serious weaknesses across the services which should have helped Child O’ (1.8 page 5).
Cllr Liz Morris, Haringey Lib Dem Children’s Spokesperson and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, comments:
“Labour-run Haringey Council can only win back public confidence in its children's services if it implements the recommendations from the review and actually improves the services it provides to vulnerable children and families.
“Child O was suffering from a serious mental illness; she regularly and severely harmed herself making several violent attempts on her life. Despite this Labour-run Haringey Council’s child protection services did not carry out a risk assessment which would have ensured Child O got the most appropriate treatment and that any threats to her wellbeing were dealt with.
“Worryingly, funding concerns may have been prioritised by the Labour council over the immediate needs of this extremely vulnerable child. There were a number of delays in giving Child O a private residential placement which she clearly needed and the report suggests concerns about the cost of the placement may have led to those delays.
“There are also lessons for the police to learn. I am very concerned that the police were given a letter about a sexual attack on Child O and this did not trigger a formal child protection response. The police should have acted immediately - instead they made no formal record and the letter was lost. The officer involved did not engage in the review process which I believe every agency should do. I urge the police to ensure that officers involved in cases like this always contribute to future reviews.”