Hurt baby 'should have been in care'

A baby who suffered brain damage while in the care in of her parents should have been taken into care before her injury, a review has found.

Experts led a serious case review after the seven-week-old was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The report said there was enough information available to social workers for the girl and her twin brother to be taken off their parents at birth.

Lincolnshire County Council said it accepted the findings.

The twins were already known to social workers in Lincolnshire before their birth because of the mother's history. She had been jailed in 2005 for wilful assault and grievous bodily harm on her son and had suffered domestic abuse.

'Error in judgement'

The serious case review was carried out by Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board after the girl was hospitalised and her brother was found to have injuries in March 2011.

Debbie Barnes, director of children's services, said: "We fully accept the findings of this report.

"A social worker involved with this family failed to properly consider the risks posed by the parents and they should have taken more account of historic information about one of the parents.

"The social worker believed the parents could look after the twins in the community with support from a range of agencies.

"This was an error in judgement that put the children at risk of harm and in fact, the children should have been made subject to court proceedings and a recommendation to court that they be removed at birth."

'Flawed decisions'

The report found that the social worker believed "things had changed" and that the parents, with the right support, could care for their children.

Chris Cook, chairman of the Lincolnshire Children's Safeguarding Board, said the case was not a reflection of the county as a whole.

"This report shows how important it is for frontline practitioners to make sound judgements. Flawed decisions such as the ones outlined in this case are extremely rare," he said.

Both the children have now been adopted and are making "good progress", the report said.

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