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Angry mother battling for answers

by Ridley&Hall in News posted January 22, 2009.

Andrea Jobling is an angry woman who wants answers. Her son, Warren died aged 7 on 12th April 2008. He is one of the 7 children whose deaths are being investigated by Doncaster Council’s Serious Case Reviews, following the “chaotic and dangerous” situation recently identified within Social Services.

Warren was profoundly disabled but lived at home with his family and went to a special school. Doncaster’s ‘Care to Share’ scheme enabled the family to benefit from respite care, one weekend a month. This was provided by a Council trained and supervised carer at her home.

Yesterday Andrea had a meeting with Dr Paul Gray, Doncaster’s interim children’s director whose task is to investigate the deaths. The meeting did not provide the answers that she needed.

“Paul Gray came to my home to talk about the investigation. I had a series of questions for him. He knew that I had been to see Solicitors. He said that for this reason he couldn’t give me any answers. That’s just not good enough. The Council’s Solicitors have told my solicitors that the Council has no responsibility for what happened. So how am I going to find out what went wrong?

“On the evening of Friday 11th April Warren was fine. I left him at his carer’s home; he’d been going there for over 3 years. I said goodbye to him and gave him a kiss. That was the last time I saw him alive.”

The circumstances of Warren’s death are now the subject of legal proceedings. Andrea’s solicitor, Sarah Young of Ridley and Hall solicitors Huddersfield , said “The local authority’s solicitors deny that the Council has any responsibility. They say they have no duty of care to Andrea or Warren even though even though Doncaster trained, supervised and paid his carer. We have not got to the point of discussing where the fault lies. The Council’s solicitors seem to be saying that it’s nothing to do with their client – which is frankly bizarre.”

Andrea is confused and furious: “Warren died when he was in local authority care. I want to know why the Council is saying it’s nothing to do with them, when at the same time, they’re having a Serious Case Review. If the carer wasn’t employed by them, who was she employed by? It wasn’t me.”

Solicitor Sarah Young adds “I am appalled at the insensitivity of the Council. Their lawyers have said “It’s nothing to do with Doncaster.” It seems that the Council can’t even decide where to point the finger of blame when things go wrong. ‘Learning the lessons’ has become the tragic cliché of social work. Doncaster appears to have learnt nothing. Treating a bereaved and still grieving family in this way is appalling”.

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