Quinn, a 3-year-old co-parented child, was critically injured while in the family home. They were air lifted to hospital and while their injuries were serious, they were not life-threatening or life-changing. Police were concerned about the poor state of the home child neglect and unsafe sleeping arrangements for Quinn and their sibling. Quinn’s parent was subsequently arrested. Quinn remains in the care of the other parent and continues to make a good recovery.
- The assessment of risk undertaken by Children’s Services lacked information which should have informed decision making.
- When the family moved to Devon, no cross border local authority checks were completed.
- There was an over-reliance on self-reporting by parents and a lack of professional curiosity.
- There was little evidence of multi-agency work and lack of triangulation regarding one parent’s mental health. This prevented insight and understanding of the full impact on their parenting capability.
- Public Health Nursing completed a 2-year developmental review on Quinn’s sibling, but the 3 month follow up was not recorded.
- The co-parent had a communication need but this was not assessed. The shared care arrangement was not examined.
Good practice arising from the incident
- Professionals have been quick to engage with Children’s Services with timely and proportionate multi-agency response.
- There has been robust, collaborative multi-agency working with regular information sharing taking place. The Local Authority child protection procedure evidence this well.
- Good communication with the wider family
- Clear safety planning in place.
Voice of the family
The current safeguarding process has facilitated open and reflective dialogue with family members who have acknowledged that they had some reservations around the co-parent’s level of insight and understanding into the children’s competing and individual needs. They understand the seriousness of the situation
The co-parent has restrictions upon their contact with the children and they are working with the allocated social worker to explore what support they will need going forward particularly given the added complexity of their communication need.
- Information needs to be gathered from a range of agencies to inform decision making at strategy discussions. An audit will be undertaken to check this is happening.
- Staff need to be able to respond to parents who have additional needs to enable them to participate fully in any assessment process. They need to ensure that reasonable adjustments are made. Agencies will identify whether there is a training need for staff in recognising and responding to parental needs so that reasonable adjustments can be made.
- Staff should offer families early help services when issues affecting their parenting capacity are identified
Further reading from National Review, The Myth of Invisible Men, is available on the government website.
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