26 March 2010
News release published by the Jersey Child Protection Committee:
A Serious Case Review (SCR) into the care of a child known as BA is being published today by the Jersey Child Protection Committee. This is the first SCR undertaken in Jersey to closely follow the UK Government’s Working Together to Safeguard Children* guidance.
An SCR is generally held when a child has died and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor in the child's death. Reviews may also be held when a child has been seriously injured or harmed through abuse or neglect, and where it is believed that lessons can be learned to avoid a similar situation arising in the future. (see accompanying document for further details about the purpose of a SCR)
Serious case reviews are not inquiries into how a child died or who is culpable and to what extent for any abuse and neglect.
The independent Chair of the JCPC, Mike Taylor, said: “The review has conducted a rigorous, independent analysis of the circumstances of this family, and the quality of service the children received from various agencies, over a 12-year period from 1996 to 2008.
“A number of failings were identified. Firstly, despite 12 years of engagement with this family, until latterly, there was no clear protection plan and no measurable improvement targets. There was too much emphasis placed on the risk of sexual abuse and not enough attention paid to possible neglect and emotional abuse.
“Throughout this period the Mother, rather than the child(ren), was too often viewed as the client. There was a failure of supervision and management to challenge the conclusions being reached and to test the child protection plan and its delivery.
“Important information was not properly shared, action taken was not considered in the light of this information and any lack of action was not adequately challenged.
“During the judicial process the views of professionals with key responsibility for the children were not given due weight and child protection specialists did not have the opportunity to challenge decisions or the confidence to press for a review of them.
“While significant failings are identified, there have been major changes in policy and practice during this time and there has been a positive response to the serious case review process from all the agencies involved.
“As well as identifying recommendations to improve the safeguarding of children, the review recognises the extent of good practice both in individual agencies and in inter-agency working. I hope this report will be used constructively to learn important lessons, so everyone involved in the care of children can build on the positives to deliver the safe and responsive services which children in Jersey have a right to receive.”
Each of the agencies involved with the review has submitted an Action Plan to the JCPC, covering the recommendations made. Chief Officers will be responsible for delivering their plans, and the process will be overseen by the JCPC, who will test the effectiveness of these plans in response to the recommendations.
* HM Government’s advice and guidance on how to conduct a Serious Case Review is contained in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006