Manchester

Hanged boy 'should have been better protected'

A teenage boy who was found hanged in a Manchester bed and breakfast should have been better protected by several agencies, a review has found.

The 17-year-old came to the UK from Poland with his father in 2008. He was abandoned by him and left homeless.

The teenager spent 10 months in and out of temporary accommodation.

The Manchester Safeguarding Children Board recommended young people were not housed in B&Bs and that vulnerable youngsters got co-ordinated support.

'Many lost opportunities'

There were "significant limitations" in how agencies worked together to help the teenager, known only as Child S, the board's review found.

"As a consequence there were many lost opportunities for information sharing, assessment and interagency challenge.

"Child S could and should have been better protected.

"It is reasonable to conclude that if his needs had been holistically assessed and appropriately responded to, the critical pathway that contributed to Child S ending his life could have been different."

The boy spoke very little English and did not have a passport or any other official documents, the review found.

'Emaciated'

Manchester Council's Children's Social Care department placed him in bed and breakfast accommodation, but he ended up in and out of the accommodation after payments were cancelled on a number of occasions.

He was left to sleep rough on several occasions.

He was arrested by Greater Manchester Police five times, for being drunk and disorderly, for stealing clothes and for causing criminal damage.

While in police custody, he threatened to take his own life but that information was not passed to any other agency, the report found.

The Youth Offending Service also dealt with him on several occasions, and referred him to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health team.

Child S also came into contact with hospital staff. He was due to have a mental health assessment but left the hospital before it happened.

In the weeks before his death, a social worker saw Child S when he was visiting another person in his bed and breakfast.

"He was shocked, describing him as emaciated with clear indicators of self-harm," the report found.

Ian Rush, who chaired the review, said the case was a "sobering reminder we need to increase our efforts to improve the range of options so the number of young people in B&Bs reduces further and further."

Pauline Newman, Manchester City Council's director of Children's Services, said a lack of information about Child S's circumstances before he arrived in the UK meant "it was difficult to get the full picture about his needs and to fully determine how best to help him".

"Nevertheless we can clearly see now with hindsight that there were things we could and should have done differently and we have actioned the report's recommendations.

"This includes working with other agencies to agree new procedures for responding to the needs of 16 and 17 year olds who are homeless."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites