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Baby P's carers 'lacked urgency'

1 May 09 19:04 GMT

Doctors, police and social workers caring for Baby P lacked "urgency and thoroughness", a report into the toddler's death suggests.

The second Serious Case Review found that professionals were "insufficiently challenging" to the child's mother.

Chairman Graham Badman said the death "could and should have been prevented".

Baby P was 17 months old when he died with more than 50 injuries in Haringey, north London, despite being on the child protection register in 2007.

The boy's mother, her boyfriend and their lodger, Jason Owen, were convicted of causing the death of the boy, who has now been named as Peter.

'Appropriately qualified'

The independent review was commissioned by Children's Secretary Ed Balls following the case.

It found that "every member of staff in every agency involved with Baby P" was "appropriately qualified, well motivated and wanted to do their best to safeguard Baby P".

But Mr Badman added: "If doctors, lawyers, police and social workers had adopted a more urgent, thorough and challenging approach the case would have been stopped in its tracks at the first serious incident."

He said: "Baby P deserved better from the services which were there to protect him."

The review also found that "staff adopted a threshold of concern for taking children into care that was too high and had expectations of what could be achieved that were too low".

Child safety professionals were not "adequately sceptical" of the explanations given for the maltreatment of Baby P, Mr Badman added.

He said the full review could not be published because of legal concerns, but that he wanted to give an indication of its conclusions.

The review also said the problems which led to Baby P's death were not only found in Haringey.

Mr Badman said: "Lessons need to be learned more widely. Services generally need to place greater emphasis upon improvement in parenting."

Grandson's grave

Haringey Council leader Claire Kober said: "We have accepted that things went badly wrong with our child protection in 2007."

Key members of staff including the council's head of children's services, Sharon Shoesmith, were dismissed following the Baby P case.

Miss Kober added: "All the agencies in Haringey responsible for child protection are now implementing an action plan to improve children's services."

Baby P's grandmother, speaking to the BBC's Panorama programme, said she had not visited her grandson's grave: "I was warned not to go there - not badly, but just in case people might turn on me and that is one of the reasons why I haven't seen my grandson's grave.

"That hurts as much as anything else hurts. I haven't been able to put a flower or say a prayer or say sorry because I got so sorry too, you know, because I should have been there for him."

On Friday, the boyfriend of Baby P's mother was convicted of raping a two-year-old girl in north London.

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