'Severe trauma' to baby on Isle of Wight 'preventable'

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"Severe trauma" to a three-month-old boy could have been prevented by the Isle of Wight Council's children's services, a review has concluded.

In one of two serious case reviews problems have been revealed in the way vulnerable children on the island have been protected.

A number of recommendations have been made by the island's Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).

However, the LSCB said there would be no "quick fixes".

The reviews found that although some agencies, including mental health and health visiting, showed good practice, others had areas of "weakness".

Start Quote

...there are no quick fixes to these problems and time will be needed to ensure sustained improvement...”

End Quote Maggie Blyth Isle of Wight LSCB

The three-month-old baby, known as Baby T, was admitted to St Mary's Hospital in summer 2012 suffering from retinal bleeding which it says indicated "severe trauma", one review said.

The injury was likely to have been caused by shaking, it said.

Had professionals "assessed the dangers correctly" and taken "appropriate action" in ensuring Baby T was not left in the care of his sister's father, his injury could have been prevented, the review said.

It added that mental health workers were told the man had fantasised about hurting small animals and people, and had been denied contact with another of his children.

Baby T's mother had also said he had abused her "many times", according to the review.

A total of 14 recommendations were made including better training of staff and recording of work - such as using specific descriptions instead of generalised terms such as "domestic violence".

'Very serious failure'

Details of the second case review have not been revealed as the LSCB said it could "significantly compromise the welfare of children involved".

It concluded there was a "very serious failure" by managers in children's social care to review and account for early decisions made in the case.

The review added if there had been an early intervention the outcome "may have been different".

Several recommendations have been published in this review for a number of agencies, including the council, NHS Trust and schools.

In January 2013 an Ofsted inspection found child protection arrangements on the Isle of Wight to be failing and judged them "inadequate".

In a statement, chair of the Isle of Wight LSCB, Maggie Blyth, said the two reviews related to incidents which occurred prior to the Ofsted inspection and added it was "therefore not surprising that the review findings mirror those of Ofsted".

She added: "Since January 2013 however, a great deal of work has taken place to strengthen children's social care on the island, including the implementation of a range of measures to improve front line services.

"It is self-evident however, that there are no quick fixes to these problems and time will be needed to ensure sustained improvement."

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