By now Baby P could have been thriving in a loving home having been placed for adoption. Instead he is dead having been left with his mother and her sadist boyfriend. It wasn’t that Haringey social workers were unaware of a problem – he had been placed on the child protection register. Nor was it about lack of resources – social workers visited him 60 times over eight months of abuse. But evidence was missed or ignored. There was dithering and delay and now the boy is dead.
Nobody is being sacked. Sharon Shoesmith, Chairman of the Haringey Local Safeguarding Children Board, says:
"This was a family that needed, and was given, extensive help and support. The very sad fact is that we can’t stop people who are determined to kill children. I am satisfied that the action that should have been taken was taken."
What a revolting comment. Is she feeling the heat from the elected councillors in this Labour-run authority? It doesn’t sound like it. No senior staff lost their jobs over the Victoria Climbié scandal in the same London borough eight years earlier. She says nobody at all will lose their jobs this time.
But the problem is ideological not only negligence. In his Guardian article
on Monday the Shadow Children’s Secretary Michael Gove pointed out that
back in 1998 Paul Boateng lamented that some local authorities refuse
to place children for adoption "because of the belief that the family
must be kept together, no matter what, even at the expense of the
child’s best interest." Gove added that Boateng "was right on the
money. But the government hasn’t followed through."