A social worker in Stockton-on-Tees, England, has been fired after failing to notice a 12-year-old boy’s pleas for help.
The boy had scrawled ‘help me’ outside of his bedroom. He and his 2-year-old sister were taken into care in August 2013 when they were found inside their fly-infested house.
The place was filled with trash bags, dirty diapers and rotting food. Feces were smeared on the wall of the boy’s bedroom. The mother and her boyfriend were jailed in 2014 for child negligence.
A report revealed that the children had been flagged by school staff and health workers since 2007, but authorities failed to act.
Professionals failed to inspect the upstairs of the house and missed the 'help me' writing.
The social worker was sacked after the child went blind in one eye after missing hospital appointments for cataracts. He had become increasingly crippled with arthritis.
The boy's left eye had turned white, but his mother and her boyfriend claimed that they did not notice because they never looked at his face, reported Daily Mail.
Health visitors and social workers also failed to inspect the children’s bedrooms.
The conclusion of both the first and second referral to children’s social care was that no further action should be taken, reports Mirror.
Colin Morris, the independent chairman of the Stockton-on-Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board, said, “There were too many missed opportunities; there should have been better communication – the public has the right to expect better.”
“This is bread-and-butter stuff; you expect all professionals operating in this field to communicate effectively,” Morris said, adding, “A range of agencies has been involved with [the boy] and during the course of this Serious Case Review, the Stockton-on-Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board has identified a number of failings.”
Both Morris and Jane Humphreys, corporate director of children, education and social care at Stockton Council, have apologized to the boy in person.
The boy is now staying with extended family. He is described as “happy and settled” and “making progress in school.”
After he receives surgery, his sight is expected to “improve over a long period of time but it is still thought it will never fully repair over time.”
The mother was sent to jail for two-and-a-half years, while her boyfriend got two years and two months. They both pleaded guilty to child neglect.
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