Vulnerable boy, 12, who was allowed to go blind while being kept in squalid conditions scrawled ‘help me’ on hallway wall – but social workers TWICE failed to intervene
- Repeated concerns raised about boy’s hygiene by doctors and school staff
- Social services visited house but did not look at children’s bedrooms
- They declared home clean on two visits, one eight months after alarm raised
- Youngster, who wrote messages on the wall, later went blind in one eye
- Mother and her partner were both jailed for neglect earlier this year
- Serious Case Review called into the case as MP says boy was ‘let down’
Social workers failed to intervene in the case of a boy who was half-blinded by neglect after scrawling ‘help me’ on a wall of his home in a desperate cry for help.
The boy was kept in a filthy, fly-infested house in Thornaby, near Stockton, Teesside by his mother, Gillian Hendry, and her partner, Craig Dick, who have both been jailed.
A social worker’s report into the case which emerged this week has revealed that worries about the boy were twice raised with authorities, but opportunities to save him were missed.
Social workers and police found squalid conditions in the family’s home and the boy had written ‘save me’ on one wall in an apparent cry for help
The 12-year-old boy was kept in a filthy, fly-infested house in Thornaby, near Stockton, Teesside
Gillian Hendry and Craig Dick were jailed last month for neglect after Hendry’s son went blind in one eye
The report into the case stated that worries were first raised about the boy, now 12, when he was six years old.
Staff at the primary school he attended in 2007 were worried about his hygiene and attendance but no further action was taken.
In 2010, a school nurse contacted social services after visiting the home and finding a mouse infestation and no hot water.
Social workers visited his home but noted that conditions had ‘improved’ since the nurse’s visit and closed the case.
The following year, after the boy and his mother moved in with Dick, a consultant called social services when the boy was so dirty he was deemed at risk of infection. After consulting the boy’s school, no visit to his home was carried out.
The consultant told of his worries again in 2012, but another social services visit to the boy’s home – eight months after the alarm was raised and which did not include an inspection of the children’s bedrooms – found no hygiene concerns.
The report into the case stated that worries were first raised about the boy, now 12, when he was six years old
The missed opportunities in the case emerged after a Serious Case Review was called into the boy’s treatment
It was only in July last year, following another report from a medic, that social services gained access to the family home and discovered the boy had gone blind in one eye.
Photographs taken by inspectors show the appalling state of the family home, where they also had a two-year-old daughter.
The boy even scrawled ‘help me’ on a wall outside his dirty bedroom in a desperate cry for help.
Social workers and a police officer found faeces and urine in both the children’s bedrooms. The boy was questioned more, with the report stating: ‘He told the social worker that when he used to wake up at his home, he had to tend to his little sister.’
In an unusual move, a judge agreed to lift a legal order banning identification of the boy’s mother, Gillian Hendry, and her partner, Craig Dick, before they were sentenced last month.
Judge Howard Crowson agreed that reporting the case in full was in the public interest and could prevent a repeat.
He said it was important the boy was not seen to be at fault for anything that happened to him.
The couple, who are both 34, both admitted cruelty. Hendry was jailed for two and-a-half-years and Dick was jailed for two years and two months.
An independent Serious Case Review has now been ordered in the case of the boy and his sister, who the local council says are now doing well.
Photographs taken during a third and final inspection of the properties where the boy lived show the conditions
Photographs taken by inspectors show the appalling state of the family home
Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham said: ‘This has been a tragic situation for this young boy, and it is clear there needs to be a full and detailed inquiry into why he was let down.
‘There have clearly been failings and it is important we learn about them and the actions taken as a result of them, but we need to wait the outcome of the review.’
Colin Morris, the independent chairman of the Stockton Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: ‘We are aware of this very sad case and a serious case review is already well under way having been initiated in June.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2814106/Boy-blinded-neglect-kept-squalid-conditions-scrawled-help-wall-social-workers-TWICE-failed-intervene.html#ixzz3HedpPvHN
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