Deficient recordkeeping in child protection
Failure to meet recordkeeping obligations isn’t just a business risk – it can impact human rights, especially for society’s most vulnerable cohorts.
The following is a collection of documented incidences where recordkeeping failures compromised children’s safety.
- Council failing puts children at risk of harm
- More than 2,200 Australians reported abuse in orphanages and children’s homes
- Why hundreds of children still get lead poisoning
- Report into death reveals unacceptable gap in recordkeeping
- Lax recordkeeping jeopardises lives and chances for justice
- Child Protection Notification System inaccurate and not up to date
- Child sex abusers could be at large, says church
- County council’s child protection arrangements “inadequate”
- ACT care system failing children
- Irish minister declares child care report “deeply disturbing”
Council failing puts children at risk of harm
A shocking report has revealed that vulnerable children are being put at risk due to failings in Wakefield Council’s services.
Recording of social work was deemed to be “poor” in some cases. Inspectors noted that planning documents and records of visits were missing, making it difficult for the council to understand risks to the child and what actions had been taken.
Inspectors highlighted an audit carried out in January 2018, which identified that around ten percent of referrals had been “closed inappropriately without further work being undertaken, including ensuring that children were safe”.
They also looked at unallocated cases, claiming in many, there was “no evidence of risk being identified, managed or reviewed”.
Read more: Wakefield Express, 23 March 2018
More than 2,200 Australians reported abuse in orphanages and children’s homes
The royal commission has identified that poor record keeping is a systemic issue which affects the response of many institutions to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse. Furness said…
poor record keeping and information sharing about abuse was “systemic” across all institutions.
The royal commission has proposed reforms to improve information sharing and record keeping, including the development of a national set of privacy principles.
Read more: The Guardian, 7 March 2017
Why hundreds of children still get lead poisoning
The Baltimore City Council announced plans Monday to hold an investigative hearing into why hundreds of children are still getting lead poisoning — a preventable condition officials vowed to eradicate six years ago.
A top state environmental official said the agency’s enforcement efforts also are hampered by disjointed recordkeeping. Property registrations, inspections and enforcement actions are all logged in different databases that cannot easily be cross-checked. Upgrading and integrating those disparate information systems would cost nearly $1 million, he said, adding that the agency hopes to do that.
Read more: Baltimore Sun, 11 January 2016
Report into death reveals unacceptable gap in recordkeeping
A report into the death of a vulnerable young person details an inadequate response to evidence of child abuse and neglect when he was young , a failure to ever fully assess his needs, weak frontline social work practice and unacceptable gaps in recordkeeping.
By the age of seven, Danny’s primary school raised concerns with social services about possible sexual abuse. The review team was unable to establish if this was ever followed up because of an absence of records.
When his father died a few years later, Danny was placed in foster care. There is no evidence that the placement was assessed and approved by the health board at the time…
The report details an inadequate response to evidence of child abuse and neglect when he was young , a failure to ever fully assess his needs, weak frontline social work practice and unacceptable gaps in recordkeeping.
Read more: Irish Times, 16 July 2014
Lax recordkeeping jeopardises lives and chances
The Tennessean and other news organizations around the state are examining 42 DCS files released under court order last week. Among them, there are cases of children’s deaths or near-deaths that are thoroughly documented; others have no documentation until months after the events in question. Some cases saw involvement of multiple investigators and caseworkers; others appeared to have received scant attention while being juggled by lone, overwhelmed caseworkers.
A common thread, however, is the failure to keep records up to date – and while in the average business or government office that failure results primarily in waste and inefficiency, in Children’s Services the results are that someone’s life may be in greater danger, and the ability to bring the perpetrator to justice is irreparably damaged.
Read more: The Tennessean, 15 May 2013
See also: DCS records for eight children who died aren’t available
Child Protection Notification System inaccurate and not up to date
The Health Information and Quality Authority published its findings from the HSE Carlow/Kilkenny local health area.
The Child Protection Notification System, which records all children in the area who are considered to have unresolved protection issues (including neglect), was not accurate and up to date.
Of the 27 standards examined, not one was “fully met”. Nine were “not met”, while the remaining 18 were “met in part”.
Significant deficits were found in the vetting of members of staff, including poor records and a lack of the required checks in some cases. Inspectors found 40 per cent of staff files did not contain the requisite garda vetting, something which was described as a “significant concern and serious deficit” by the watchdog.
Read more: The Journal, 10 May 2013
Child sex abusers could be at large, says church
Some child sex abusers might still be among Uniting Church clergy because of poor record keeping and failure to investigate cases, the church conceded.
The Victorian inquiry into how the churches handled sex abuse instructed the church to investigate previous cases.
In other evidence, church spokesmen said it had no records of victims seeking compensation before 1998 because of inadequate recordkeeping and that since then it had paid $2 million to 63 victims from the 1940s to 1986 but had not reported any cases to the police.
There have been seven cases of child abuse since 1998, all of which were reported to the police, the inquiry heard.
When committee member Nick Wakeling asked if failure to report to police and to keep records meant some abusers might still be operating inside the church, church lawyer Philip Battye said it was ”theoretically possible”.
Read more: The Age, 23 April 2013
County council’s child protection arrangements “inadequate”
Vulnerable children have been exposed to unacceptable levels of risk by failing social care services in Cambridgeshire, inspectors said.
In a damning report published today, Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) condemned the county council’s overall child protection arrangements as “inadequate” – the lowest possible rating – and delivered the same judgment on three of the four specific categories examined during an unannounced visit last month.
Ofsted said the quality of protection plans for youngsters was variable and that recording of assessments was poor, making it hard to judge progress and make decisions to keep families out of danger.
Read more: Cambridge News, 19 October 2012
ACT care system failing children
A review of the ACT’s youth care and protection services has revealed widespread failings in the system designed to protect the territory’s most vulnerable children, from inadequate risk assessments prior to removing children from families through to virtually non-existent early intervention and prevention for those at risk of harm.
Ms Phillip’s report found poor recordkeeping and little evidence of case supervision or transparent decision-making.
Read more: Canberra Times, 31 May 2012
Irish minister declares child care report “deeply disturbing”
A report into the deaths of children whilst in state care in the Republic of Ireland, has concluded that the majority did not receive an adequate child protection service.
Ms Fitzgerald said the report showed a catalogue of failures, including a lack of proper co-ordination between state agencies, poor recordkeeping and a lack of proper risk assessment.
Read more: BBC, 20 March 2012