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The Daniel Pelka serious case review

In case you are not aware, a Serious Case Review is an inquiry conducted after the death of a child known to professionals, headed by an independent chair, with the aim being to look at what happened, whether anything went wrong and whether anything can be learned from the process.

 The Serious Case Review is here http://www.coventrylscb.org.uk/files/SCR/FINAL%20Overview%20Report%20%20DP%20130913%20Publication%20version.pdf

 Most of you will have heard of Daniel Pelka. The Serious Case Review summarises the tragic story like this:-

 2.1 Daniel was murdered by his mother and stepfather in March 2012. For a period of at least six months prior to this, he had been starved, assaulted, neglected and abused. His older sister Anna was expected to explain away his injuries as accidental. His mother and stepfather acted together to inflict pain and suffering on him and were convicted of murder in August 2013, both sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment.

2.2 Daniel’s mother had relationships with 3 different partners whilst living in the UK. All of these relationships involved high consumption of alcohol and domestic abuse. The Police were called to the address on many occasions and in total there were 27 reported incidents of domestic abuse.

2.3 Daniel’s arm was broken at the beginning of 2011 and abuse was suspected but the medical evidence was inconclusive. A social worker carried out an assessment but no continuing need for intervention was identified.

2.4 In September 2011, Daniel commenced school. He spoke very little English and was generally seen as isolated though he was well behaved and joined in activities. As his time in school progressed, he began to present as always being hungry and took food at every opportunity, sometimes scavenging in bins. His mother was spoken to but told staff that he had health problems. As Daniel grew thinner his teachers became increasingly worried and along with the school nurse, help was sought from the GP and the community paediatrician.

2.5 Daniel also came to school with bruises and unexplained marks on him. Whilst these injuries were seen by different school staff members, these were not recorded nor were they linked to Daniel’s concerning behaviours regarding food. No onward referrals were made in respect of these injuries. At times, Daniel’s school attendance was poor and an education welfare officer was involved.

2.6 Daniel was seen in February 2012 by a community paediatrician, but his behaviours regarding food and low weight were linked to a likely medical condition. The potential for emotional abuse or neglect as possible causes was not considered when the circumstances required it. The paediatrician was unaware of the physical injuries that the school had witnessed.

2.7 Three weeks after the paediatric assessment Daniel died following a head injury. He was thin and gaunt. Overall, there had been a rapid deterioration in his circumstances and physical state during the last 6 months of his life.

Whilst one is tempted to cry that this is unique and will never happen again, and that the idea of a child being deliberately starved and this being allowed to happen is a once-in-a-lifetime case, we sadly know that it is not. We all know that it happened in Birmingham just a few years ago, and there’s a criminal trial ongoing on yet another infant that this happened to, right now.

The findings

Daniel’s mother and stepfather set out to deliberately harm him and to mislead and deceive professionals about what they were doing. They also involved Daniel’s sister Anna in their web of lies and primed her to explain his injuries as accidental.

 

 A pattern of domestic abuse and violence, alongside excessive alcohol use by Ms Luczak and her male partners, continued for much of the period of time from November 2006 onwards, and despite interventions by the Police and Children’s Social Care, this pattern of behaviour changed little, with the child protection risks to the children in this volatile household not fully perceived or identified.

 

 Missed opportunities to protect Daniel and potentially uncover the abuse he was suffering occurred:- 

 at the time of his broken arm in January 2011, which was too readily accepted by professionals as accidentally caused,

 when the school began to see a pattern of injuries and marks on Daniel during the four months prior to his death, and these were not acted upon, and

 at the paediatric appointment in February 2012 when Daniel’s weight loss was not recognised, and child abuse was not considered as a likely differential diagnosis for Daniel’s presenting problems.

 

At times, Daniel appeared to have been “invisible” as a needy child against the backdrop of his mother’s controlling behaviour. His poor language skills and isolated situation meant that there was often a lack of a child focus to interventions by professionals.

 

In this case, professionals needed to “think the unthinkable” and to believe and act upon what they saw in front of them, rather than accept parental versions of what was happening at home without robust challenge. Much of the detail which emerged from later witness statements and the criminal trial about the level of abuse which Daniel suffered was completely unknown to the professionals who were in contact with the family at the time.

 

 A number of critical, significant lessons have been identified by this SCR, which are detailed later, and it is now of utmost importance that they are translated into action by front line professionals and adopted for inclusion within relevant child protection processes and systems and as part of the support and supervision that these professionals require in their day to day work with vulnerable children.

(Eileen Munro has made some interesting comments in the media over the last few days about the tendency of Serious Case Reviews and the media to work backwards from the known tragic and awful outcome to then look at things that in the light of that seem obvious indicators that a tragedy was imminent, without necessarily recognising that similar things do happen in families without such awful consequences.  I think her interview is both timely and brave http://communitycare.rbiblogs.co.uk/childrens-services-blog/2013/09/eileen-munro-admits-i-cant-say-i-would-have-done-better-in-protecting-daniel-pelka/ .   The natural human reaction when hearing a story like Daniel’s is that we MUST be able to prevent this sort of thing happening to a child and that if we didn’t then it MUST be due to a professional having screwed up.  Sadly, it’s a bit more complicated than that. What Munro says about bruises here is very important – you can’t reverse-engineer back that each of those bruises ought to have prompted a reaction without considering what the prevalence of bruising is in children generally)

The information from the body of the report about Daniel’s experiences in that home are heart-rending

It is difficult to speculate what sort of feelings and physical effects Daniel experienced in terms of his issues about food – often referred to as his “obsession”. Certainly the eventual post mortem identified that he was very malnourished and had been subject to serious neglectful care. The school were clearly concerned about his weight and how thin he was, his deterioration since starting school, and of his habit of seeking out food at every opportunity, so much so that it was difficult to control. Daniel however never said he was hungry or spoke about his home life. In reality however no professional tried sufficiently hard enough to engage him to enable him to talk about his experiences at home. Additionally at the paediatric appointment three weeks before his death, he did not communicate in any way with the paediatrician. The injuries at the time of his death were evidence of the high level of trauma that Daniel must have suffered in the later stages of his life, and yet he still attended school on occasions and disclosed nothing of concern. Despite arriving at school with facial injuries on at least two, or more likely, three occasions in late 2011/early 2012, no arrangements were made to speak with him directly or formally about these in relation to any child protection concerns. Without proactive or consistent action by any professional to engage with him via an interpreter, then his lack of language and low confidence would likely have made it almost impossible for him to reveal the abuse he was suffering at home, potentially for fear of retribution if he did disclose anything.

 

5.11 Additional information gleaned from the range of evidence which became known to the SCR Panel and was then presented at the criminal proceedings, demonstrated that the children’s experience, especially for the period from autumn 2011 until Daniel’s death in early March 2012, was considerably more traumatic than was known to professionals at the time. From early October 2011 there was evidence that Daniel was on occasions locked in an upstairs “box room” in the house which had no furniture and smelt of urine, but had a damp carpet and floorboards. There was a mattress which was soiled and there was no heater or toys in the room. This was apparently used as a form of punishment which was referred to in text messages between Ms Luczak and Mr Krezolek. Although Daniel was also said to have usually slept with Anna in her room, which was appropriately clean and furnished, it was unclear how often Daniel was made to sleep or stay in the box room. It was later acknowledged by Ms Luczak that it was in this room that Daniel died.

 

5.12 It was evident that Daniel experienced a harsh degree of scapegoating and emotional abuse by Ms Luczak and Mr Krezolek and he was often the sole subject of physical abuse and neglect, which included deliberately depriving him of food, serious physical abuse, feeding him salt and putting him in a cold bath, on one occasion according to Ms Luczak at the time in early February 2012, leaving him temporarily unconscious because he had nearly drowned. There were further disclosures in the court that Mr Krezolek gave out punishments to Daniel which included making him do sit-ups for an hour, or stand in the corner, as well as do squats or running on the spot. What was most concerning was the apparent deliberate way that such punishments were planned in advance. In her statements and in her evidence at the criminal trial, Ms Luczak apportioned responsibility to Mr Krezolek for the abuse and neglect of Daniel saying that if it was found that Daniel had taken other food whilst at school, that Mr Krezolek would not allow him to be fed that evening or that he would be fed salt so as Daniel would vomit up the food that he had taken while at school. This must have been a most terrifying and dreadful ordeal for Daniel to face at the hands of those who should have been caring for him.

 

5.13 It is challenging to describe Daniel as being neglected physically or emotionally, in that this implies some passivity on the part of his abusers. It is apparent that everything done to Daniel was calculated and deliberate, even his non-school attendance. He did not suffer physical neglect in the ordinary use of the term as he went to school clean and well dressed with a packed lunch, albeit a very frugal one. He likely existed in a constant state of stress and anguish as a result of his terrible treatment at the hands of his mother and Mr Krezolek.

The pattern in the case seems to be one of each incident of concern having been treated in isolation, and of no professional collating and gathering the constellation of concerns and recognising that what was going on here was appalling abuse on a systematic level; despite Strategy Meetings and Core Assessments.

Overall, the “rule of optimism” appeared to have prevailed in the professional response to Daniel’s fracture and to his other bruises. This appeared to reflect a “tendency by social workers and health care workers towards rationalisation and under responsiveness in certain situations. In these conditions workers focus on adult’s strengths, rationalise evidence to the contrary and interpret data in the light of this optimistic view”23 . The explanation of the cause of this injury was too readily accepted as accidental and the initial concerns about the injury quickly downgraded – it remained the case that there was delayed presentation of the injury by a day, and that the medical view was that Daniel would have been in considerable pain, and additionally, that based on medical knowledge and research, the most likely cause of an oblique fracture was physical abuse.

 

It appeared that the medical diagnosis or evidence was deferred to as being the most significant to any assessment of whether abuse was a cause or not of the fracture. It was understandable that the medical opinion could not be certain of the causation, and once there was the comment from the doctor that the mother’s explanation could be plausible, this appeared to quickly reduce concerns and actions by the Police and CLYP. In fact there were some inconsistencies in the explanations given. What was missing from the Strategy Meeting was recognition that the medical view was not necessarily the most significant contribution to whether physical abuse had taken place. There were the social factors of family life to take into account, the parent/child relationships, the role of the male in the home etc. which all would have added to the overall understanding of whether there was the likelihood of physical abuse within the home.

 

On the majority of occasions in these sorts of situation, the medical evidence is inconclusive, as it was on this occasion, but to then have accepted this to mean that the injury was accidentally caused, without further robust enquiries, represented that the “rule of optimism”24 was at play in this situation. It might help to prevent this occurring in future similar situations, if the medical view was presented as saying that on the balance of probabilities, the injury was likely to be the result of abuse, (according to research), rather than to report that an accidental cause was plausible.

 

 

(This is perhaps the Eileen Munro point – whilst one can adopt a safety first, child preservation approach and that might have saved Daniel Pelka, there is fallout in adopting such an approach across the board, that one ends up intervening at too high a level in other families where things would not have played out as they did here. Whilst the press would have social workers save all children such as Daniel, they are also quick to criticise where action is taken – see the recent headlines as a result of Re J)

I think the SCR do try to take into account the difficult balancing act that has to be undertaken, particularly in this section

14.7 This was a complex case for a number of reasons and it would be too simplistic to identify failings by individual practitioners as the reasons why Daniel was not protected. No individual practitioner works in a vacuum and that was true for this case in that the actions or inactions by individuals was at least partly informed by the management support and advice they received, the efficiency of the systems and processes within which they were working, the training they received, and their workload and organisational context. Nevertheless for future learning, it is important to try to identify some of the reasons why Daniel’s abuse was not recognised and acted upon earlier by practitioners who came into contact with him. These were likely to have included:

Ms Luczak presented as plausible in her concerns, presented on many occasions as a capable and caring parent (when not in the midst of domestic abuse incidents) and took an assertive stance with professionals. Her manipulation, avoidance of contact with practitioners, deceit and actions (as well as that of Mr Krezolek) were not recognised for what they were and her presenting image was too readily accepted.

Ms Luczak’s male partners did not regularly present themselves to practitioners and were hardly ever the focus of proactive intervention or enquiry.

There were no specific concerns about the care of either Anna or Adam; in fact at times they were viewed as well cared for. This did not fit with the pattern that neglect usually impacts upon all children in a family.

 

It is relatively rare in cases of child abuse that one child is singled out and scapegoated in the way that Daniel was. The apparent good care of the other children appeared to give a false reassurance that Daniel’s problems were not related to abuse.

Daniel’s presentation of scavenging for food and his excessive eating when he found any sort of food, as well as being linked to weight loss, was rare to see in a child, and assumptions were then too readily made that his problems were medically based.

Compared to other forms of abuse, emotional abuse is the most difficult to detect.

In these circumstances, the practitioners involved were not prepared to “think the unthinkable” and tried to rationalise the evidence in front of them that it did not relate to abuse. The words of a philosopher were particularly relevant in this case in which he says “we see things not as they are, but as we are”42. If practitioners were not prepared to accept that abuse existed for Daniel, then they would not see it.

No concerns were expressed about the care of Daniel to CLYP or to the school by neighbours or the community. If there were, then these might have added weight to the mounting concerns.

Neither Anna nor Daniel ever expressed any concern about their care at home.

Multi agency child protection systems such as Joint Screening for domestic abuse, Strategy Meetings, recording requirements and assessment practice, sometimes failed to support effective coordinated interventions between organisations and practitioners.

14.8 The above list is not meant to explain away the lack of protection that Daniel was afforded by professional interventions, or to give excuses for such practice. It aims to give some possible insight into the way that a particular set of circumstances and dynamics can lead to referrals for child protection not being made and ineffective interventions undertaken which are not sufficiently child focussed, by practitioners who were otherwise committed in their wish to address Daniel’s needs and protect him. Unlike the UK, some countries have a process for mandatory reporting of child care concerns to government departments43, which raises the question that if it existed here, whether injuries seen upon Daniel would have been independently reported by individuals to the authorities

The Lessons Learned are interesting, but one can’t help but read them with a heavy heart, thinking how many times other such Serious Case Reviews or public inquiries have said that we have to learn these lessons.

Is it that workers on the ground aren’t implementing these lessons and taking them on board, or is it that in order to balance a system where the actions of unpredictable people have to be predicted and anticipated and where the State is urged simultaneously both to leave children at home and to remove them, sometimes things will go horrendously wrong?

15. Lessons Learned

 

15.1 When concerning childcare incidents take place or a crisis arises for a family, these provide key opportunities to intervene at a time when parents may be responsive to change, or children are able to speak of their experiences. To not take proactive interventions at such times will create missed opportunities to protect the children, which may not recur again in such circumstances. Each opportunity which presents itself to protect a child must be taken.

15.2 Reassurances by parents about domestic abuse ceasing and that the children are not affected, need to be robustly challenged and responded to with respectful uncertainty by professionals.

15.3 Sole reliance on a parent’s explanation of events and views about family relationships and associated risks to the children, must be balanced with the presenting objective information available or evidence sought to support or challenge parental assertions. To not do so will potentially leave children at continuing or un-assessed risk.

15.4 Domestic abuse/violence is always a child protection issue and must always be approached with this as the mind-set of professionals.

15.5 No assessment of risks within a family or to a particular child can ever be effective without direct engagement of that child as an integral part of the professional interventions, and in working hard to gain an understanding of their experiences, wishes and feelings. There must be a child focus to all interventions.

15.6 To focus on concerning incidents in isolation and only deal with the “here and now” will not make it possible to take a holistic approach and therefore consider other similar incidents or other concerns at the same time. To be too incident-focussed will mean that the ability to develop an understanding of patterns of behaviour and family lifestyle will be seriously compromised.

15.7 Professional accountability for record keeping, timely reports and recording of key actions from multi agency meetings, is central to professional childcare practice, and to fail to complete appropriate records will significantly compromise inter agency working and reduce the collective ability of agencies to protect children.

15.8 Any facial injuries to a child must be viewed with concern, with physical abuse needing to be actively considered as a possible cause, and clear records, interventions or referrals made accordingly. To have no efficient system to collect and collate details of such injuries and actions will compromise later attempts to protect a child.

15.9 Even small units of service delivery to children and families, such as small schools, require a robust system to ensure collation of child protection concerns and appropriate actions, rather than rely on informal forms of communication within a small staff group.

15.10 Whilst a prominent injury to a child will inevitably attract the greatest professional attention (as occurred with Daniel’s fractured arm), the injury must be seen in the context of any other injuries or bruises, however minor they may be, and for their causation to be separately and then collectively considered.

15.11 For professionals from Children’s Social Care or the Police to defer to medical staff for the provision of the primary evidence to confirm or otherwise whether an injury to a child was the result of abuse or not, could be unhelpful, particularly when no definitive view one way or the other can be given. To do so could lead to any following investigation being inappropriately downgraded and implies that other aspects of the child life are less significant for the purposes of assessing the existence of child abuse.

15.12 When faced with significant and complex concerns about a child‘s welfare, it is essential that professionals “think the unthinkable” and always give some consideration to child abuse as a potential cause of the presenting problems. To not do so would be a disservice to the child involved and potentially leave him/her at increasing levels of risk.

15.13 Professional optimism about a family and of their potential to change or improve their parenting must be supported by objective evidence and that any contra indicators have been fully considered prior to any optimistic stance being taken.

15.14 For any professional to make a decision about their own interventions based on assumptions about the actions or views of other professionals without checking these out, is professionally dangerous practice.

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

21 responses

  1. Eileen Munro, also makes the point that while Daniel’s voice was missing during their interventions, so were the voices of the frontline professionals in the SCR. SCRs are written to a pre-prepared script. It seems to me that all the authors need to do is change the names and other personal data, and hey presto same old same old.

    Child Protection failures have become like a nightmare version of Groundhog Day. There are systemic problems that cannot be addressed without radical change. Eileen Munro tried but was largely rebuffed by politicians apart from window dressing like Chief Social Workers.

    I suggest that successive governments have all applied the rule of optimism about social work in general but especially child protection. The Daily Mail is already screaming for retribution, and no doubt the bodies of a couple of frontline workers will be offered up as ritual scapegoats, after proper disciplinary procedures that is.

    I do not wish to diminish the true horror of Daniel’s life, like you I wept at some of the details of his behaviour, but neither weeping nor retribution will do…we need a SCR on Child Protection Social Work and we need it now.

  2. So many children removed for just one injury,one call to the police for a domestic argument, followed by removal of a child screaming for its mother….then tearful parents begging in vain in court for their child to be returned to them from “care”.
    Contrast this with 27 police calls to the house,repeated pattern of bruising,and feeding from bins….
    Surely the lesson to be learned is that a single injury is usually not enough to worry about ,nor are one or two police visits to noisy non violent domestic disputes BUT when there is a repeated pattern of police visits(27!) ,multiple injuries,and signs of starvation (feeding off bins and loss of weight) those responsible for the child’s welfare should be fired for avoiding these repeated signs.
    Alas Daniel’s mother was no doubt a favourite of the social workers,just lke Baby P’s mother who received her surviving children when in prison !
    Other mothers who have never harmed a child or committed any crime are forbidden all contact with their children even by phone or email crushed by non molestation orders and gagging orders that prevent them protesting in public!
    gagging

    also gaggigng orders to make sure that

    non molestation orders plus gagging orders so that they cannot tell the public about their suffering.

  3. I could write and comment much about the type of things in this case that go on relatively routinely in many other cases/situations. The interesting things – not detracting from the failings of individuals and agencies – is that in it being seen, noted and accepted that this is a “complex” case it implies that special treatment and care is needed. Yet it did not happen and why – as those agencies do not have the skills and training and in many cases inclination to ask questions and investigate.

    For example how can the police do anything when in many cases they don’t investigate much of the “crime” that is reported to them – in case of GMP 60% of crime reports go investigated. When it is reported they do not often ask the right questions and don’t interview witnesses to crime – and I include in that situations of child abuse and assault – but without carrying out those investigations they are able to close the report and regard it as malicious. That’s is not an accusation or a perception – it is a fact.

    What West Mercia did is not isolated – in the same way that many of the questions that were not asked by the school are common to other schools, in the same way that the NHS has “named nurses for safeguarding” that do not pass information onto other agencies, in the same way that Paediatric Consultants do not contact social services etc despite awareness of their involvement in cases,…I could go on – again based on experience…

    The system and people in it are often too concerned with their work loads, treat matters as a process and a tick box exercise. It’s not them or their children impacted. The lack of understanding and appreciation of issues is there if you look…Agencies too simplistic in approach to the complex and key issues; over burdened, ill trained and poorly equipped in complex matters and also over complicating and misguided in dealing with the simple and routine.

    God pity out children!

  4. 15.14 For any professional to make a decision about their own interventions based on assumptions about the actions or views of other professionals without checking these out, is professionally dangerous practice.

    This is the paragraph that sums it all up. The main reason why innocent parents are losing their children and the reason why those needing help are left to die.

  5. Forced Adoption wrote:-
    Alas Daniel’s mother was no doubt a favourite of the social workers,just lke Baby P’s mother who received her surviving children when in prison !
    Other mothers who have never harmed a child or committed any crime are forbidden all
    contact with their children even by phone or email crushed by non molestation orders and gagging orders that prevent them protesting in public!
    non molestation orders plus gagging orders so that they cannot tell the public about their suffering.

    An example of not employing the right social worker staff. Personality traits are the same as
    the offenders. Gagging, hiding abuse (innoccent parents where the crimes are by the social workers equals an abusive parent gagging a child to prevent abuse being detected.

    A abuser looks for and likes power over others. A social worker will go to great lengths to justify their wrong actions against innocent parents, a child abuser will make themselves seem very acceptable and also like their own powers to control and manipulate.

    A social worker will want every other professional to side with them when against an innocent parent, those professionals will often work without doing their own checks. A criminal mind has 1 lie and 3 witnesses.

    To think the unthinkable is a dangerous route in the minds of those who fit the above, it is a tactic used by the corrupt to muddy the waters against innocent parents. On the other hand a normal person who naturally thinks the unthinkable and then goes on to prove one idea or the other based on fact makes NO mistakes.

  6. – It is relatively rare in cases of child abuse that one child is singled out and scapegoated in the way that Daniel was. The apparent good care of the other children appeared to give a false reassurance that Daniel’s problems were not related to abuse.

    This is in fact untrue. Everyone knows the saying ‘the black sheep in the family’. Everyone knows of famiies who have a ‘favourite’ child. In psychology true facts emerge where during family assessments or treatments a member of that family is scapegoated for the failure of the majority to accept their own shortcomings and failings.

    It is also a sign of abuse to that child as often the most vulnable will be targeted while the stronger willed are left alone.

  7. – Neither Anna nor Daniel ever expressed any concern about their care at home.

    This one often works in care homes where abuse is hidden. Adults in care homes, children in care or foster are handpicked to speak well of their care to visitors, family, inspectors and so on. While the abused are kept busy or taken out of the way. Often those speaking well of their care are unaware of the abuse others are suffering, while others may know but are rewarded for their loyalty.

  8. Is it that workers on the ground aren’t implementing these lessons and taking them on board, or is it that in order to balance a system where the actions of unpredictable people have to be predicted and anticipated and where the State is urged simultaneously both to leave children at home and to remove them, sometimes things will go horrendously wrong

    Its more a case of having a system that is so flawed it fails to work in the interests of children or families.

    In this case there was a clear indication to most people that the child should have been given a safe haven. The problem with the system is that it sparks off all the procedures of child protection, family court proceedings, referrals and assesments involving multi agencies.

    The answer would be to build a new model and be very careful who that employs .Then build the new model where it takes the rabbit (social worker) out of the headlights. A child is seen to be at risk, a safe haven should be there with qualified staff member to access the child and whether there is a need for a child protection case.

  9. It should be community action based so that the child is not removed from the attended school, friends, hobbies interests or normal routine.
    It is also important that social workers are not involved in the safe haven. There must be no room for conflict of interest. i.e. You cannot have people who place children for adoptions also as fact finders in a safe haven.
    It should be family friendly where there is no stigma attached that can damage an innocent family. This would be in the interests of the child who may need to return to his family.
    Family contact (or no contact if definate abuse) should be arranged in family friendly centres or by sharing normal activities with haven.

    Where a child has obvious serious abuse then social worker intervention should be in the form of starting and completing the child protection procedures and arranging a suitable placement and possible adoption. At this time the new govenments bill for supporting adopters would have some justification.
    BUT NOT WHILE INNOCENT PARENTS ARE LOSING THEIR CHILDREN ON THE BACK OF A DYSFUNCIONAL (AND SOMETIMES CORRUPT) SYSTEM.

    • I think that’s a really interesting point, that thought should be given to separating the section of the State that decides whether children should be removed from parents from the section of the State that then provides care for such children. (Much as the police don’t end up also running the prison service or probation). I don’t know whether that is something that will ever happen, but it is certainly something that would be worth debating and considering.

      You can’t get totally away from the perception that such a joint role is unfair, and that it leaves parents who may be understandably (and sometimes wholly rightly) upset or outraged about the removal of the child having far less confidence in their child being well looked after by that same organisation or that there is a motivation to remove more and more children in order to place them for adoption; as social engineering.

      If you did wholly separate the investigation and Court aspects of social work from the organisation who provides for children whom the Courts have said need care, those concerns might lessen to some extent.

      It is a good point to make.

      • No need for this move…it’s already happened. Such is the dysfunction in SSD’s the 2 elements have never been married up anyway. Social workers in one corner, Residential care in another, Foster carers and Adopters in another and managers in the 4th corner and never shall these services be stitched up into a seamless service ever….so don’t worry.

      • Yes a fragmented and non working model with a vase of flowers in the window called ‘child protection’.
        This ‘model’ protects very few children, it destroys innocent families, fails to remove children suffering serious harm, abuses children in the care system, fails the children on all fronts from education, providing stablitity to educating them as future parents, uses young and in-experienced carers to provide role model mentoring, forces children from innocent families into forced adoptions losing them their own birth family network and identity, puts the children into the russian roulette of sexual predators and the list goes on.
        Meanwhile we have some brave social workers prepared to whistleblow and tell of the managers self promotional interest in securing a child removal by falsifying records and obtaining psychological reports to discredit a parent where they know there is no harm to the child.
        Sadly the ones who refuse to understand what is going on are the large numbers of solicitors who believe in all the ‘best interests of children’ spin, continue to find cases ‘complex’ because the ss have successfully muddied the waters by their unfounded opinons based on falsified records and supported pschological reports as demaned by their mangers. While little children like those hitting the headlines are murdered. .

      • In a nutshell below you have explained the trauma of a parent who has lost their child/children on lies. If only the pain could be felt, it would be equal to that of watching your child being murdered. But there is no closure as in a death as every day of your life you are bleeding with sheer pain at not knowing if in that moment your child is being hurt or abused.

        ……………………….You can’t get totally away from the perception that such a joint role is unfair, and that it leaves parents who may be understandably (and sometimes wholly rightly) upset or outraged about the removal of the child having far less confidence in their child being well looked after by that same organisation or that there is a motivation to remove more and more children in order to place them for adoption; as social engineering……………………..

  10. PS. The innocent parents who have lost their children to forced adoptions and the care system feel the pain of a abused child more than those who are reported as working ‘in the best interests of children’.They not only feel their own pain but that of the child.
    The daily emotional pain of not knowing if your child is safe and cared for relates strongly to the mass public outrage of a murdered child.
    They are the ones who want the system changed to protect ALL children more than anyone.

  11. ……………………..Daniel’s mother and stepfather set out to deliberately harm him and to mislead and deceive professionals about what they were doing. They also involved Daniel’s sister Anna in their web of lies and primed her to explain his injuries as accidental……………………………..

    Yes and while these kind of people exist as ‘parents’ they also exist in professions such as social workers, managers and within all the child protection network.

    It is the rot in the woodwork where children are the ultimate victims. It is not just the ‘model’ of social work that needs a new one, it is the people that work within it that needs to be held accountable. Hence why so many damaged innocent families are calling for a transparent and open system. Where immunity does not exist for those failing to protect children OR innocent families.

  12. 5.12 It was evident that Daniel experienced a harsh degree of scapegoating and emotional abuse by Ms Luczak and Mr Krezolek and he was often the sole subject of physical abuse and neglect, which included deliberately depriving him of food, serious physical abuse, feeding him salt and putting him in a cold bath, on one occasion according to Ms Luczak at the time in early February 2012, leaving him temporarily unconscious because he had nearly drowned. There were further disclosures in the court that Mr Krezolek gave out punishments to Daniel which included making him do sit-ups for an hour, or stand in the corner, as well as do squats or running on the spot. What was most concerning was the apparent deliberate way that such punishments were planned in advance. In her statements and in her evidence at the criminal trial, Ms Luczak apportioned responsibility to Mr Krezolek for the abuse and neglect of Daniel saying that if it was found that Daniel had taken other food whilst at school, that Mr Krezolek would not allow him to be fed that evening or that he would be fed salt so as Daniel would vomit up the food that he had taken while at school. This must have been a most terrifying and dreadful ordeal for Daniel to face at the hands of those who should have been caring for him. ………………………………….

    Documented cases where the system is so flawed the above has also happened to children within the care system, Abused by both foster carers, carers and adopted families.

  13. Traffic lights. Most families hover between green and amber. By that I mean no parent is perfect, all have bad days, most face one crisis or another. Some smack their child then go on amber and put in alternatives while some stay on green and set stringent rules to always avoid smacking. Some scream at children on a bad day or fail in one way or another.
    On the question of child injury, most children will have some sort of accidental injury during their childhood. I had several to my face including forehead, some to my elbows and knees. All accidental and none that I could say was due to my parents inability to protect me. And neither were the injuries down to neglet by my parents.

    When the light goes hovers from amber to red, then I would expect someone to question what was happening, Be fact finding, check and collate the information and in most cases remove the child from potential serious harm.(there was already a broken bone) In all the high profile cases ALL of them hovered between amber and red long enough to have created a profile on the parents home situation and removed the child to a ‘safe haven’ BEFORE the light went red.
    Sadly the system seems to waste valuable time and resources on targeting families that hover between green and amber and then go on to create a case on the back of the murdered children.

  14. Traffic lights. When did the lights go from amber to red. OCTOBER 2011.

    Hungry, going in bins, many unexplained bruises and evidence that there was a box room with no furniture, dirty mattress on floor and it was used as a punishment room..
    Previous history of a broken bone.

    Clear difference to the care of the other 2 children is where thinking the unthinkable is critical and being seen as the cover up of abuse to Daniel.

  15. And why did I not include the many domestic violence incidents.
    Because many children are seriously harmed or murdered where there were none.

    It should have been all about Daniel and not getting lost in the muddy waters.

  16. http://communitycare.rbiblogs.co.uk/childrens-services-blog/2013/09/eileen-munro-admits-i-cant-say-i-would-have-done-better-in-protecting-daniel-pelka/

    Much as I respect the above opinion, its the social worker that should have thought all about Daniel enough to see him regulary, checked for injuries and seen the many bruises, visited the school and spoke with the teacher, checked the home and collated the information.
    The reply to that would no doubt be that social workers have huge caseloads, are over worked and no doubt underpaid.
    But while these murders happen their are plenty of social workers causing huge and unforgivable distress to decent families dragging them through multi meetings, assessements and family courts and taking children on either flimsly evidence, (as Eileen Munro states, children have many bruises and accidental injuries) and sometimes none at all. Perhaps just happen to be the kind of social worker who is so unprofessional and dishonest they would hang Jesus all over again.

  17. Just as a little memo and something which I hope you will identify with and perhaps mull over.
    A good parent is not some supermum or dad, perfect and always on the green light (as described earlier)
    Its someone with huge love for their offspring who are not perfect (no-one is) and who want to do the best for their children.
    A good parent is also someone who will always question and mull over the best way to deal with situations and where improvements could be made in their parenting, home situation etc.
    BUT everyone who is connected to social work, in paid employment concerns themselves with the image of social work and not with how they can improve it. Unless of course there is a serious case review where they are forced into it.
    No decent parent spends their time worrying about what the neighbours think of their parenting.or anyone else for that matter. A decent parent is only concerned about their children.
    Perhaps social work really does need a new model and the right kind of staff to fill the roles.

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