Baby P council apologises for new abuse case

Haringey Council criticised for failing to learn lessons as toddler - identified as Child T - is twice released from hospital into the care of his mother and heroin addict stepfather to suffer yet more violence

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Indy Politics

Haringey Council has been severely criticised for failing to learn the lessons of the Baby P scandal after another child was discovered to have been “seriously and repeatedly” abused.

Three years after the north London authority was condemned over the death of Peter Connelly, a catalogue of blunders by social workers, police and medical staff allowed a toddler to be twice released from hospital into the care of his mother and heroin addict stepfather where he suffered yet more violence.

The council, which was also at the centre of the scandal into the death of Victoria Climbie, apologised following a Serious Case Review by its Local Safeguarding Children Board. The boy, identified as Child T, was eventually taken into care in June 2011 aged four. He suffered more than 50 bruises on his body and had told a doctor that he had been hit with a belt and a stick by his stepfather. But despite concerns raised by a consultant paediatrician, nothing was done.

The report found “compelling evidence of individual and systemic failures within and between services so soon after that high profile case (Baby P).” It added: “How could agencies, particularly in this locality, so fundamentally fail to recognise and respond to a child being repeatedly and seriously abused?”

The board’s chairman, Graham Badman, said: “What is clear is that because of failings in the system this child suffered physical abuse that could have been prevented.”

The report into Child T said the authorities had been unprepared to “think the unthinkable” and were unwilling to believe the adults could be abusers.

In February 2011 the child was taken to hospital where he was found to have more than 50 bruises. He was not taken into care until four months later along with three siblings.

The boy’s stepfather was later jailed for assaulting a young person whilst his mother returned to her native Poland. Child T remains in care.

Haringey Council leader Claire Kober said: “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.”

The death of Baby P in August 2007 with more than 50 injuries despite being seen 60 times by the authorities sparked national outrage.