Dundee child protection services criticised for ‘major weaknesses’ by new report

July 1, 2009

http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/news/archive/2009/june/23/08.htm

INSPECTORS have blasted Dundee’s child protection services – just a few months after the conviction of Brandon Muir’s killer.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education warned of “major weaknesses” in identifying children who needed protection and that “some children were left in high-risk situations without adequate protection or support”.

Their report comes after the conviction of Robert Cunningham, 23, for the culpable homicide of 23-month-old Dundee toddler Brandon Muir in the flat he shared with the toddler’s mother Heather Boyd.

During Cunningham’s trial it emerged Dundee City Council’s social work department had been in contact with Boyd before Bandon’s death.

Today’s HMIE report did not look at the Brandon Muir case, pointing out that Dundee Children and Young Persons Protection Committee had commissioned a significant case review into the circumstances surrounding Brandon’s death.

And the chief officers group of Dundee City Council, Tayside Police and NHS Tayside has commissioned an independent review of matters relating to the youngster’s death.

HMIE inspectors could not “assure the quality of service received by every single child in the area who might need help”.

Most staff recognised when children were at risk of abuse or neglect but “not all of these children were reported quickly to social workers or police”.

The report continued: “Immediate action was sometimes delayed and some children were left in high-risk situations without adequate protection or support.

“The needs of vulnerable children and those recovering from abuse were not always met well.

“Staff across services did not always respond quickly enough to children who were at risk of significant harm.

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