Baby team in Derby say 'lessons have been learned'

Image caption,
The report highlighted some confusion between doctors and social workers

Social services have changed how they protect vulnerable children in Derby, after a baby was harmed by his father.

A Serious Case Review found agencies involved in the 2008 case did not share or record information properly, which led to risks being "underestimated".

And the boy had to be recalled to hospital after fractures were missed in a visit earlier the same day.

Derby Safeguarding Children Board said the case was a "one off" and lessons had been learned.

The baby was first taken to hospital after the father told a midwife he had "squeezed" him. After this the family were monitored by various agencies.

Bruise issue

On a second visit to hospital some weeks later the baby was examined, the family was allowed to leave, but fractures were then spotted by a consultant in radiology.

The family was called back and the was baby subsequently taken into care.

One issued highlighted by the review was the confusion caused when doctors and social workers referred to the baby's injuries in some cases as a "mark" and others as a "bruise".

Jo Davidson, from Derby Safeguarding Children Board, who carried out the review into the case, said communication was vital in child protection.

"Plain English is a very important issue because in child protection we're talking about a lot of people from a lot of different professions and each profession has its own language.

"The issue of describing something as a mark - we all come up with a number of explanations for that - whereas this was a bruise and a bruise is a very different issue, particularly on a newborn baby."

She added: "This was a one-off, this was not a Baby P, this was not a systemic failure."

Bright future

Twice-weekly meetings between all agencies involved in child protection cases have been set up in light of the review.

Jacqui Jenson, from Derby City Council's children and young people's department, said: "This was a very young baby, just seven-weeks-old when he was removed.

"While it is hard, with hindsight, to know if we would have prevented the injury, we would certainly have wanted to shorten those seven weeks."

The baby's father was given a 12-month suspended sentence after admitting two counts of causing actual bodily harm.

The little boy is now thriving with an adoptive family and is showing no signs of impairment, Ms Jenson added.

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