This Extended Child Practice Review was commissioned by the Chair of the North Wales Safeguarding Children’s Board in February 2015. The review was undertaken following a finding of fact that two young children had been deliberately given methadone by either or both of their parents in the Gwynedd area. This was confirmed in November 2015.
The Extended Child Practice Review Report was sent to Welsh Government and, under the regulations, the Welsh Government Safeguarding Team can draw in other parts of the Welsh Government and Inspectorates Group as appropriate in any further action is needed. No further actions was needed.
The independent reviewers identified areas of good practice in appropriate and robust challenge. Additionally, it was identified that the Housing Department were a particularly useful source of information whose presence at any such meeting was valuable and only added to the safeguarding picture
The review highlighted the need for quality referrals being sent to Social Services from professionals and ensuring that all relevant information (including historical information) should be taken into account as part of the initial assessment
There is a need for a chronology on cases which is a key tool to aid reflection and analysis both in real time and after the event which should have taken place in this case
The reviewers felt that the process and timing of Pre Birth Assessments by all agencies needs to be reviewed in order that there is some synergy and sharing of appropriate information at an early stage to inform case management decision making and planning. Across North Wales there are inconsistent approaches between Social Care Departments as to when to accept pre-birth referrals from partner agencies.
In the reviewers’ opinion when a situation is deemed too risky for professionals to attend alone, this must give rise to significant concerns of the risks posed to the children in the household, and should trigger a review of the level of risk presented to the children.
The reviewers felt that this case in particular has highlighted the need for objective supervision and the importance of ‘fresh eyes’. Additionally during this review there seemed to be a reluctance by from some professionals to make a safeguarding referral, and when it was made, there were internal processes (e.g. Professionals meeting) followed which could have undermined efforts to safeguard.
The review highlighted that there was a need for professionals to have timely access to safeguarding documents and a shared understanding of what terms actually mean. The reviewers also felt that it was imperative that professionals keep an open mind and ‘think the unthinkable’ when assessing safeguarding risks to children with parents who misuse substances.
An action plan has been formulated and is being monitored by the North Wales Safeguarding Children’s Board to ensure that reflection and learning has taken place across all agencies that worked with this family
You will find the report in the CPR Section of the Website
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