CAFCASS; Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

{July 1, 2009}   Agencies failed to safeguard baby

Opportunities to intervene before a 16-month-old girl was killed by her father “were missed” by social services and other agencies, an inquiry has found.

Amy Howson, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, had her spine snapped by her father James in December 2007.

A serious case review found the town’s children’s services team failed to take proper action to safeguard the girl, who also was beaten several times.

It identified “three key missed opportunities” to intervene.

Howson, of Nelson Road, Doncaster, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years after being convicted of Amy’s murder.

Her mother Tina Hunt was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years after admitting she allowed the death of a child and child cruelty.

The serious case review referred to Amy as Child B.

In its conclusion, it said: “The murder of Child B by her father… was not predictable given the information and knowledge held on him and other family members by agencies.

“However, there was sufficient information and knowledge on family members, including (the father), held by individual agencies to conclude that, on balance, both Child B and (another child) were at risk of significant harm from him.

“Some agencies within the Doncaster multi-agency child protection system failed to follow basic safeguarding procedures and did not take proper and effective action to safeguard and promote the welfare of Child B and (the other child).”

The review also concluded an “inter-agency working and communications were deficient”.

It identified “three key missed opportunities for agencies to intervene with a proper assessment and subsequent child protection plan”.


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