Northern Ireland

Missing toddler Sophie Anderson found in Scotland

Baby Sophie
Image caption Sophie Anderson has been found safe and well

Missing toddler Sophie Anderson has been found in Scotland.

The 17-month-old girl, who was reported missing by the social services in Banbridge on Monday, was found safe and well in a caravan park in the Dumfries area.

Her mother, aged 30, and father, aged 22, have been arrested.

Sophie had been with foster parents for more than a year, but had been in regular contact with her birth parents.

On the day Sophie disappeared, it was arranged that her mother would collect her from a social worker's office and take her on an unsupervised visit to a mothers and toddlers' group, where they could have contact in a more natural environment.

However, they did not turn up.

Jim Wells, MLA for the area and the chairman of the assembly's health committee, said the Southern Health Trust should launch an investigation to see if lessons could be learned.

However, he added: "The difficulty, though, is that there are thousands of access arrangements like this going on in Northern Ireland every month.

"If you then introduce supervised access it becomes incredibly bureaucratic and frankly unaffordable.

"Every now and then something goes wrong, but this is less than 0.1% of all these arrangements.

"So it's a very difficult balance between the need to ensure the child has some access to the birth parents and also to prevent this happening."

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