CoramBAAF comment on Serious Case Review published today by Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB)
John Simmonds, OBE, Director of Policy, Research and Development, CoramBAAF said:
“The publication of this serious case review focusses on the sexual abuse of two children who were placed with a distant relative and her partner under a Special Guardianship Order. This is the second Serious Care Review published in the last few weeks – the first by Birmingham in respect of an 18 month child murdered by her Special Guardian. There are others examples before these.
“Special Guardianship enables children who cannot be looked after by the birth parents the opportunity to be cared for in a new family until they are 18. Guardians are in the majority of cases relatives. The design of Special Guardianship envisaged that that there would be strong evidence of a pre-existing relationship between the child and that relative although that is not required. These cases identify that the current assessment and support system is not rigorous enough and children are being abused or neglected as a result. These cases may be in a very small minority but one is too many. The government needs to review the preparation, assessment and support of these proposed placements urgently to ensure that local authorities and the courts have robust evidence that when such fundamental life changing decisions are made, children will be safe and that they will thrive.”