15th November, 2021 10:02 am
Two toddlers were injected with heroin by their father to help them sleep, a review into their care has heard.
The children, aged one and two, were living in Lancashire with their parents when the alarm was raised in 2019.
They have since been removed from their parents’ care after testing positive for opiates.
A review has since found a number of failings in their care after it was noted the toddlers and their older siblings had suffered years of neglect.
A report published by the Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership outlines how the family had been known to several services with concerns dating back to 2006.
Since October 2018, the toddlers, along with their older siblings aged nine and 16, had been subject to a child protection plan.
This was due to concerns linked to domestic abuse, parental mental health and substance and alcohol use, the report said.
In November 2019, it was alleged the father had been injecting the youngest children with heroin “to get them to sleep”.
All four children were removed from their parents’ care after the toddlers both tested positive for opiates.
While it was noted there was no evidence of an injection during the medical examination, a potential injection bruise to the thigh was spotted when one of the children attended nursery three days later.
‘Scared and confused’
A child safeguarding practice review was ordered to identify if any lessons could be learned from the case.
Amanda Clarke, an independent safeguarding advisor who wrote the report, said the “examination of what happened in the lives of the four children and their family has highlighted the environment of significant neglect in which they lived”.
“The brief feedback available from the children, helps to show what life was like for them and that for much of the time they were, as [the second eldest child] said, scared and confused,” she added.
“Despite some individual professionals recognising the unacceptable lived experience for the children, the multi-disciplinary processes which occurred did not routinely help to ensure that the children’s situation improved.
“The children did not always remain the key focus when decisions were being made and when services were delivered.”
She noted in the report there had been “limited evidence” that the children were regularly asked about their wishes and feelings and staff sickness and changes to staffing impacted on their care.
Following the review, a number of recommendations have been put forward including examining the current position relating to neglect in the area.
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