Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Methadone toddler: Agencies rapped

A toddler died from a methadone overdose after social workers failed to take him into care, a damning report has revealed.
Jayden Lee Green, who was just a month short of his second birthday, was found dead in his parents' bed after overdosing on the heroin substitute in August last year.
The toddler lived with his crack cocaine and heroin-addicted parents Jamie Green and Sonia Britton in a filthy flat in the St Georges area of Bristol.
A serious case review, commissioned by Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, found there was a lack of co-operation from Jayden Lee's parents with all involved in dealing with them. This included drug agencies, midwifery, housing, health visitors, social workers and there were also regular failures to keep appointments or be at home when visits were made.
The report stated: "What was lacking was the authoritative challenge to this lack of co-operation, there was a lack of enforcement of consequences. There was a lack of challenge by practitioners across the range of agencies."
The report, which referred to Jayden Lee as "Child K" throughout, continued: "The only way that Child K's death would definitely have been prevented was if he had been placed away from his parents. The opportunity to do this was lost due to the failure to follow through on the initiation of care proceedings. However, a better-planned and authoritative approach to the family may also have prevented his death."
Britton, 35, and Green, 33, were accused of killing their son by giving him the drug that they were both prescribed by doctors.
After a three-week trial at Bristol Crown Court, Green was convicted of manslaughter and causing cruelty to a child and jailed for nine years. The jury cleared Britton of manslaughter but convicted her of child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child. She was jailed for four years.
The serious case review said there were a number of "missed opportunities" for health and welfare professionals to "fully understand the circumstances" of Jayden Lee's home environment. During a press conference at the Council House in Bristol, some of the agencies involved with Jayden Lee expressed their regret at his death and said that lessons had been learnt.
Professor Ray Jones, chairman of Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, said: "The board accepts all of the recommendations in the report and we are giving particular attention to how we ensure all workers and agencies in contact with drug-misusing parents keep the safety and welfare of children as a major focus and seek to challenge parents about the potential implications of their drug misuse on their parenting."

©Press Association

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