Failings over Teesside child injury case

Opportunities were missed to protect a disabled 11-year-old boy on Teesside, a review has found.

A serious case review was set up after he suffered injuries which led to a child protection investigation.

It found there was little coordination between agencies and he would have been spared further injuries if appropriate action had been taken.

Agencies said improved communication and working practices had been brought in following the report.

Care proceedings

The review was overseen by Middlesbrough Local Safeguarding Children Board (MSCB).

It covered the period from when the boy was four until 11.

The review said when the boy was five, his school recorded a mark which resembled a slap mark and continued to keep records of a "considerable" number of bruises and injuries.

The review said his disability meant he could be challenging to care for and his communication problems meant he could not say what had happened.

His injuries were frequently attributed to self-injury, but no paediatric opinion was sought on that.

There were no criminal proceedings in connection with the case.

Care proceedings have now started and the child is said to be safe and well.

A number of recommendations were made following the review including improving the assessment of children with disabilities and a review of inter-agency training.

MSCB independent chair Mark Braithwaite said: "Although the review of this case acknowledges that there were appropriate safeguarding procedures in place, it records that opportunities when action could and should have been taken were missed.

"The unacceptable consequence is that the suffering this child endured continued for a prolonged period."

Middlesbrough Council's executive member for children, families and learning, Councillor Mike Carr said: "Valuable lessons have been learned from this review and its recommendations have already been implemented."