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Serious Case Review compares Child T case to Baby P as Haringey Borough Council accused of failing children
A child who suffered horrific injuries was sent back into the care of his parents - despite hospital staff knowing that he was being seriously abused.
In a case that echoes that of the death of Baby P, Haringey Borough Council has again been criticised for weakness in the protection of children.
According to a Serious Case Review, Child T, now aged six, was three years old when staff at North Middlesex Hospital first noticed that he had unexplained bruising in June 2010.
His mother’s boyfriend told doctors that Child T often ran around the house and banged and hit himself on the wall.
The report revealed that Child T had injuries on his head, back, ribs and legs.
A doctor told children services that the bruises could only have been caused by considerable force and were most likely "inflicted" on the child.
In February 2011, despite suspicions of abuse the hospital returned him to the care of the abusive parents, where he was subject to further physical abuse.
Enfield Borough Council was initially responsible for Child T but the family later moved to Haringey.
But the report did not make any recommedations for Enfield council as it had since made considerable improvements.
Child T and his siblings were not removed from the care of the parents until 2011 - more than a year after the first incident of abuse came to the attention of doctors and social services.
The report said: "There is no sense of urgency in the action taken whilst Child T was an inpatient."
It identified disappointing input from other agencies and an administrative weakness in both local authorities.
The review also criticised the "lack of rigour" in the investigation by the police and Haringey's Children and Young People service.
It said there was an an "overall failure to analyse the situation accurately."
The report added that hospital doctors had well-founded concern about Child T's injuries but that they could have escalated those concerns in the face of the inadequate responses from other agencies.
Haringey’s Liberal Democrat politicians have called for an urgent, independent investigation to be carried out.
Lib Dem group leader Councillor Richard Wilson said: "Haringey residents will be astonished to discover that yet again our council has failed to protect a vulnerable child, and has been criticised for acting with a lack of rigour.
“Time and time again we have been told by Haringey's Labour leadership that our children's services have turned the corner and that lessons have been learned, but yet again this has been shown to be untrue.
“How can residents have any faith that this time it will be different?"
Haringey Council leader Cllr Claire Kober said the authority fully accepted the findings of the report and apologised unreservedly for the failings set out in the report.
She said: “Together with partner agencies, we could and should have intervened more swiftly.
“This case occurred during a period of rebuilding in our children’s service.
“We have been working hard over the past three years to make significant improvements, which have been recognised by Ofsted.
“We are pleased that we were able to secure positive outcomes for the child in this case, and that he is now thriving in a safe family environment.
“We are committed to a culture of continued partnership working, learning and improvement – as well as to ensuring that we keep the voice of the child at the heart of our work – so that we can be confident that issues like those raised in this SCR are less likely to arise again.”
A spokesman from the police said: "The Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Investigation Command has engaged fully with the Serious Case Review Process.
"We fully accept the recommendations that were made and have already taken steps to address these prior to this review being published.
"Closer ties have been created with key partners as a result of the introduction of Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH).
"These ensure local police and social workers work side by side in the same location encouraging a more transparent and open flow of information to enhance decision making.
"Haringey Child Abuse Investigation Team have relocated to a more central location within the borough bringing them closer to local authority partners and key stakeholders in child protection.
"Officers receive specialist training which is kept under continuous review and lessons learnt are integrated into any future training."
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