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New child safety laws after Baby P horror

PUBLISHED: 17:10 19 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:59 12 August 2010

LET DOWN: Baby P who was tortured and killed despite being on At Risk register.

LET DOWN: Baby P who was tortured and killed despite being on At Risk register.

MINISTERS were expected to rush through legislation on Tuesday for better protection of children following the violent death of Baby P. Children s Minister Ed Balls will propose laws which make it compulsory for every council to set up Children s Trusts

MINISTERS were expected to rush through legislation on Tuesday for better protection of children following the violent death of Baby P.

Children's Minister Ed Balls will propose laws which make it compulsory for every council to set up Children's Trusts, groups which will force councils, social workers, primary care trusts and doctors to work together.

Bromley council already has a Children's Trust which "brings together education, social care, health and other services."

A council spokesman said: "We are following the public debate around this tragic case and await the outcome of the inspection."

Labour councillor for Penge, John Getgood, welcomed the proposed legislation, adding: "Anything that improves the safety of children must be welcomed but we have to trust social workers and be careful not to demonise them. They do a very difficult job on our behalf.

"It's always a very hard judgement whether a child should be taken in to care but one which should be verified very quickly.

"This case is horrific but it's important to reserve judgement until all the facts are revealed. We may well find that we need to change the system."

Baby P suffered months of torture before his death at his Tottenham home on August 3, 2007. He had been seen up to 60 times by dozens of professionals including police, social workers and doctors but was never taken in to care.

Lodger Jason Owen, of Wittersham Road, Bromley, was convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child, along with the tot's 27-year-old mother and her boyfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

They were told they face lengthy prison sentences after appearing at the Old Bailey last Friday.

Haringey council could face a takeover when the results of the inquiry in to Baby P's death are published by police and Ofsted in two weeks time.

Darren Riley, founder of Parents Against the Removal of Children (PAROC), a Dartford organisation which campaigns for children to remain with their families, said: "The issues surrounding Baby P's death highlight the shortcomings in the current system.

"It's unclear whether this will lead to more children being put in care and only time will tell whether these Children's Trusts will work.

"It shows there are people out there who care more about their own salaries than children's welfare. None of the professionals who went into this house spotted anything amiss two weeks before Baby P died.

"They are either completely negligent and can't do their job or they cared more about their Christmas bonuses. Everyone needs to be more vigilant."

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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