Friday, 26 February 2010

The Khyra Ishaq Tragedy

One of the most chilling things reported about this appalling tragedy is that there appear to have been several members of the public who had concerns about the child's health and welfare, but who did not contact the authorities. Little is known about why people do, or do not, pick-up the phone to register their concerns. One factor may be that their trust in the ability of the authorities to respond has been diminished by repeated negative publicity.

At present too little information is in the public domain to draw firm conclusions about what else went wrong. A lot will turn on what concerns were expressed by the child's school to Birmingham children's social care. The Guardian tells us that there were "repeated warnings" by her deputy headteacher "about her welfare" and reports Mrs Justice King as having said (in the care proceedings relating to Khyra's siblings) that the schools were concerned that the children were not being properly fed.

Clearly a referral of some sort was accepted, because social workers as well as education officials visited the home.  But in the absence of further details we need to be cautious in drawing conclusions.  Hopefully the Executive Summary of the SCR will cast some light on this.