Mercy Muroki: How can we be failing the most vulnerable children so fundamentally?

Mercy Muroki
Mercy Muroki
GB News
Mercy Muroki

By Mercy Muroki

Published: 26/01/2022

- 11:09

It's 2022 in the United Kingdom, for goodness' sakes, one of the richest societies there ever was

Bradford Council will be stripped of control of its children's and social care services which will be placed in the hands of an independent board, this follows the catalogue of failures that led to the murder of 16-month-old Star Hobson.

Star Hobson was murdered in September 2020 by her evil monster of a step-mum Savannah Brockhill, jailed for a minimum of 25 years, aided by Star's Mum Frankie Smith, who received a pitiful sentence of 8 years.

The specificities of the case are too harrowing to repeat in detail but, essentially, Star bled to death after suffering catastrophic injuries following a long campaign of abuse at the hands of her parents.

The criminal trial heard how on at least FIVE occasions, concerned family members and friends had contacted social services to report that abuse – but ultimately, the local authority failed in their duty.

The social service response in this case, and the eerily similar and equally tragic case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes – who was also tortured and murdered by his parents in the same year – will be subject to a national review.

Now, the chronicle of problems facing social services is staggering, but not new.

A whistleblower talking to the BBC said that Bradford Council children's services was burdened with unmanageable workloads and that senior colleagues quote "just wanted to cover up" failings.

Staff, the whistleblower said, were "overworked, under-trained, unsupported and voiceless".

Words I have no doubt would be echoed by many people working in social services across the country.

And when the price of these failings is children ending up dead at the hands of inept parents, then that is not and will never be a price worth paying.

Out of the 12 million children living in England, around 400,000 are in the social care system at any one time. That might only be 3% but that is a significant number nonetheless.

More than 80,000 of these are IN care according to the latest figures.

And a further near 200,000 children are thought to be on the edge of needed social services to intervene in their lives.

To make matters worse, the latest inspections of local authority childrens' services found 50% of them to either be requiring improvement, or being rated inadequate altogether. That is far too many.

It's 2022 in the United Kingdom, for goodness' sakes, one of the richest societies there ever was. How can we be failing the most vulnerable children so fundamentally?

Cases like Star Hobson and Arthur-Labinjo Hughes have brought this issue into the spotlight – it's provided for a moment of reflection, a window of opportunity for those in power.

But you don’t have to have a very good memory to remember the case of Victoria Climbie, tortured and killed by her aunt and her boyfriend in 2000 – prompting a HUGE public inquiry into child protection.

And a few years later in 2007, the case of Baby P who was also tortured and killed by his mother and her boyfriend – which AGAIN prompted THREE inquiries and a nationwide review of social services.

So, excuse me if I'm incredibly sceptical about the impact yet another review into social services will have.

It seems to me that the whole things needs completely rethinking from the ground up, it needs a complete and total overhaul. But sadly, it also seems to me that those in power simply don't care enough.

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