Social Services Review After Child Deaths

A probe will be launched into childrens services in Doncaster after the deaths of seven children. Ministers are sending in a "diagnostic team" to the South Yorkshire local authority, whose childrens department was recently slammed by inspectors. In one of the seven cases, which has chilling echoes of the Baby P case in Haringey, 16-month-old Amy Howson was murdered by her father who snapped her spine. In October James Howson, 25, was told he must spend a minimum of 22 years in prison and Amys mother, Tina Hunt, also 25, was given a 12-month suspended sentence after admitting cruelty. Leeds Crown Court heard that health visitors went to the house but were shunned by Howson, who went to extreme measures to make sure all visitors were vetted. Serious case reviews have been ordered into this and the other seven deaths. The findings of three have already been made public and involved toddlers aged less than one-year-old who were abused or neglected before they died.