Injuries to eight-month old could not have been anticipated, says review
INJURIES to an eight-month old baby in Neath Port Talbot could not have been anticipated, a serious case review has found.
The child, who has been referred to as WD, sustained broken bones and extensive bruising in the summer of 2012, including a fracture to the left tibia, along with a suspected fractures to the left femur and a rib.
The report by the Western Bay Safeguarding Children Board — set up in April out of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea and Bridgend’s safeguarding boards — found that it was unclear how the injuries were sustained, but they were non-accidental.
From birth the baby was cared for by the parents, but it is currently the subject of a Care Order.
The case summary found that both the mother and father had experienced disrupted childhoods, while the mother also suffered post-natal depression with her first child, and had a history of drug and alcohol problems.
"On becoming pregnant, mother stopped using drugs and alcohol and appeared to benefit from the apparent stable relationship," said the review.
"Mother became much calmer, home conditions improved and concerns lessened."
Following confirmation of the pregnancy, the midwifery and health visiting service were fully involved, and areas of the Children and Young People Services had limited involvement.
"During the period between the birth of the baby and the subsequent injuries, there were no concerns identified by any of the agencies involved," it said.
"Both parents were felt to be making real efforts to provide a loving and caring environment.
"All professionals who visited the home commented on the care given."
However, the report found that three elements linked to assessment by the Children and Young People Service caused concern.
It found there was lack of analysis of the parents’ history, with a Core Assessment completed in a single day by a social worker with no prior knowledge of the family; a delay in completing the Core Assessment, which took 60 days and a lack of multi-agency involvement. It said communication and partnership working was poor.
Following the injury to the baby, information about alleged domestic abuse between the parents became available.
The report’s conclusion found that there were no indications the baby was at risk, and that in the past six months, the Children and Young People Services have made “great efforts” to address failings identified in this and other reviews.
Chairman of the Western Bay Safeguarding Children Board, Nick Jarman, said: "The Executive Summary notes that there were no indications the baby involved in this case was at risk in any way from the parents and that the injuries could not have been anticipated.
"However, The Board has ensured that all the recommendations identified in the Executive Summary have already been implemented across all agencies.
"I want to reassure the public that Child Protection and Safeguarding Children procedures are fit for purpose and follow the All Wales Child Protection Procedures.
"The Board is also monitoring the progress of partner agencies who are working closely with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) in delivering their improvement programmes."