Troubled child care service facing eighth review after death of baby

AN EIGHTH serious case review has been launched in Doncaster after the death of a baby who was known to the council’s beleaguered children’s services department.

The 10-week old boy died in “suspicious circumstances” on Monday evening after being admitted to hospital two days previously.

A teenager has been arrested following the death of the child, who was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on Saturday afternoon from an address in Skellow, near Doncaster, after he had stopped breathing.

The baby was later transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he died on Monday.

Paramedics were called to the house at 3.15pm on Saturday and police were then called at 7.45pm that evening.

Officers arrested the 18-year-old man on suspicion of harming a baby and he was later released on bail.

A post-mortem examination was carried out on Tuesday but was inconclusive.

Police officers are now waiting until a cause of death can be established before deciding whether to bring any charges.

Doncaster Council’s director of children’s services, Gareth Williams, confirmed that an eighth serious case review was under way.

He said: “We did know the family.” But he added that he could not comment further as the police are investigating.

Neighbours of the address in Skellow said the baby’s grandparents owned the property and lived there with their son, his girlfriend and their child.

They told how paramedics arrived on Saturday and left with the baby soon afterwards.

A woman, thought to he the child’s mother, and both sets of grandparents followed the ambulance to the hospital.

The baby’s father was picked up by his own father later that day.

Police sealed off the house for examination and left after concluding their inquiries.

One neighbour said: “The parents were so pleased to be having a baby, they were ecstatic.

“They are a really quiet family who keep themselves to themselves.

“I saw the ambulance arrive outside with the blue lights flashing. When it left the mother was really distressed.

“She was on the floor screaming. It was awful to watch, it made me cry.

“The father just sat on the front step of the house crying for ages.

“They were very young parents but just normal people who loved their baby.”

Doncaster Council has just appointed former NSPCC national director Roger Thompson as the new independent chairman of its Safeguarding Children Board.

The council ordered seven serious case reviews, five in 2008, following the deaths of children in the town known to social services.

Four reviews, including those into the deaths of 16-month-old Amy Howson and three-month-old Alfie Goddard, who were killed by their fathers, are still outstanding.

Public outcry over child care in Doncaster led to criticism of the administration led by former elected mayor Martin Winter.

The new mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, who represents the fringe English Democrats party, began his first day in office on Monday.