Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-‘neglected’-seven-month-old-baby-dies-mysteriously-in-his-cot-at-home-despite-being-under-social-services-‘child-protection-plan’-amid-concerns-about-‘domestic-abuse’Alert – ‘Neglected’ seven-month-old baby dies mysteriously in his cot at home despite being under social services ‘child protection plan’ amid concerns about ‘domestic abuse’

A ‘neglected’ seven-month-old baby has died mysteriously in his cot at home despite being under a social services ‘child protection plan’ from before birth.

The problem family had been involved with the authorities for several years amid concerns about ‘domestic abuse’, the father’s cannabis use and ‘appalling home conditions.’

The baby – identified only as ‘Roo’ – remained in the family home despite a number of warning signs of abuse, a child safeguarding practice review revealed.

Roo was born four weeks prematurely and a health worker making a home visit found the little baby ‘in his Moses basket fully swaddled and his face completely covered,’ the review revealed.

‘Mother had explained the swaddling was just holding his dummy in place.’

A health visitor, nurse and social worker accepted the explanation that a bruise on Roo’s head was caused by a toy being thrown by his sibling.

When the baby was found to have two bleeds on the brain, police and social services believed the toy may have been the cause when an ‘inflicted injury’ was the most likely explanation.

The problem family had been involved with the authorities for several years amid concerns about 'domestic abuse', the father's cannabis use and 'appalling home conditions' (stock domestic abuse)

The problem family had been involved with the authorities for several years amid concerns about ‘domestic abuse’, the father’s cannabis use and ‘appalling home conditions’ (stock domestic abuse)

Care proceedings were put in place when Roo was six months old after experts decided the brain bleeds were from a ‘non accidental injury.’

Roo’s father, who had already threatened to burn the house down, was banned from the home by court order.

His mother was allowed to stay at home with Roo and his two older siblings, but the court ordered she should be supervised by a family friend who was living there when the baby died ‘whilst sleeping’ in August last year.

No cause of death has yet been established and it remains ‘unexplained.’

The review carried out by the Hartlepool and Stockton Safeguarding Children Partnership made 12 recommendations to improve training, best practice and communication between professionals after reviewing Roo’s short and tragic life.

Roo had two older siblings and his mother, who had a learning disability, had an earlier child from a previous relationship adopted.

Initially in 2018 when the family moved to Teesside from another part of the country the new local authority didn’t accept the ‘transfer’ and social services stopped being involved.

But concerns about Roo’s two siblings prompted referrals to social services in 2021.

At the age of four the oldest sibling (Child 1) ‘had 16 teeth removed’ and teachers identified ‘anger issues.’

She had ‘thrown a bike at a mother on the school grounds saying ‘I want to kill all my teachers’ whilst trying to hit a teacher,’ the review revealed.

The following year Child 1 revealed ‘my dad smacks me’ and ‘threatened to kill’ a health visitor. In March last year Child 1 was suspended from school for being verbally abusive and physically assaulting a teacher. The six-year-old was then permanently excluded.

The review detailed how before being banned from the home by court order the father played ‘games all day and night and in between he smokes cannabis.’

The father was arrested for assault and attacking an emergency worker. Before Roo’s birth he was prescribed medication for his mental health.

He and his partner had split up but remained living together and ‘co-parenting before Roo was born. Given concerns about the family a child protection plan was put in place.

When Roo was young his mother reported violent behaviour and verbal aggression by the father. A bruise was discovered above Roo’s eyebrow and this was put down to a toy thrown by Child 2 ‘which had hit Roo,’ the review stated.

At this stage the mother reported the father made ‘threats to burn down the house.’

Then a routine ultrasound followed by scan showed two bleeds in Roo’s brain.

The local authority issued care proceedings after medics confirmed the cause was ‘more than likely an inflicted injury.’ Roo died one week after interim care orders began with home supervision by a family friend.

A spokesperson for the Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSSCP) said: ‘It is important that lessons are learned from this case, and work is on-going with all relevant partners to implement the recommendations.’

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