Wirral Council failed to make even basic checks before placing two young children with a man and his adult daughter for fostering, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Anne Seex. In her report, issued today, she also finds that the Council failed to provide financial or other support, or make social work visits to the children for several weeks after the placement began.
The Council has now agreed to pay £10,350 compensation (which is the fostering allowance for the period, plus £250 for time and trouble in making the complaints) to the complainant.
The two young children were those of the complainant's ex-partner, and were half-siblings to his adult daughter, but no relation to him. The Council placed the children after reports from the children's father (who was separated from their mother) and others that the children were neglected.
The Ombudsman also found that the Council delayed in arranging a Review Panel when the complaints were made.
The Ombudsman said: "The Council placed two vulnerable young children in the care of the mother's ex-partner and his daughter without even the most basic checks on them, their home and their ability to look after young children. Fortunately they proved to be appropriate carers who have apparently done an excellent job in looking after the children who have come to no harm. This is no thanks to the Council."
The Ombudsman also proposed that the Council should review its practices and procedures to ensure that there will be no repetition of children being placed with carers without proper checks being made, conduct an audit of other emergency placements, and make quarterly reports to the appropriate Council committee on complaints received under the statutory procedure.