CAFCASS; Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service











{July 1, 2009}   Social services failures resulted in 16-month-old girl’s murder

http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/news/archive/2009/june/25/10.htm

Doncaster agencies failed to follow basic procedures in case of Amy Howson, who died when her spine was snapped by her father, says inquiry report

A series of errors meant child protection agencies missed several opportunities to intervene to protect a 16-month-old girl physically abused and finally murdered by her violent father, a inquiry has found.

Social workers, schools and health visitors all failed to follow basic safeguarding procedures in the case of Amy Howson, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, who died when her spine was broken by her father, the serious case review says. She had been punched and slapped on numerous occasions in the four weeks before her death, leaving her with fractures to her arms, legs and ribs.
A separate serious case review into the death from abuse of another Doncaster youngster, three-month-old Alfie Goddard, concluded that although there had been no prior evidence of abuse, safeguarding agencies failed to recognise important signs that he was at risk. Alfie died of head injuries after being violently shaken and thrown to the floor by his father.

Although much of the media focus on child protection in recent months has been on Haringey, the council in north London at the centre of the Baby P tragedy, Doncaster has been for some time a focus of concerns about child safeguarding. Seven children known to Doncaster’s social services have died as a result of abuse or neglect since 2004.

An Ofsted inspection last year branded children’s services in the town “inadequate”and the decision by the children’s secretary, Ed Balls, to send in outside experts to overhaul the services helped trigger the departure of former mayor, Martin Winter, who announced in March that he would not be standing for re-election.

The review into the circumstances leading up to Amy’s death in December 2007 found social workers and schools critically failed to act on two occasions when presented with evidence of aggressive behaviour by her father, James Howson.

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