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To think Health Visitor home visits should be compulsory by law? Distressing content.

(187 Posts)
PeaceBeWithYou Thu 03-Oct-13 19:47:17

If you miss one, cancel one, are not in etc, another one should be scheduled within 3 month period and if it is again missed without adequate explanation, then police should be granted access with a HV to check on the children's welfare. Health and well being home visits should be scheduled up to the age of 10 perhaps?

Rather extreme but could this have prevented Hamzah Khan's terrible life and needless, horrifying death?

Agencies were involved with the mother but she was 'obstructive' apparently. That poor boy must have been starved from birth to be so stunted in his growth. No medical reasons have been given and also no medical professionals were aware of it so it seems. No mention that Hamzah was ever seen by a HV. The mother did not seek medical attention either sad.

Those other 5 DC in the house were also subjected to living in absolute filth and from some of the houses I've sen it is probably the tip of the iceberg.

We are too bloody worried about upsetting parents and not enough focus is on helpless DC IMO. The gloves should be off. If you have DC which are part of society, then society should take a firmer hand into ensuring their well being as it seems all too apparent that some parents can't be trusted.

One life saved or changed would be well worth it IMO.

redexpat Thu 03-Oct-13 19:51:36

This will not go well. Nearly everyone on MN hates HV and thinks they are as useful as chocolate teapots (the phrase most commonly used).

phantomnamechanger Thu 03-Oct-13 19:51:48

I have been avoiding the case you mention as I find it too awful. I did not know there were 5 other children. How does that work - how could they not have known about the dead child in their house, not said something? How could neighbours & wider social circle not have missed him?

just incomprehensible

I certainly agree OP that children should not be able to disappear and fall off the radar like this one seems to have

Fairylea Thu 03-Oct-13 19:54:23

One of the things that really upset me about this case was that the mother had been to the gp saying she had hit rock bottom and was drinking heavily and yet no one checked on her little boy even after that. Absolutely disgusting.

A truly horrific case. And unfortunately it won't be the last. Again.

eurochick Thu 03-Oct-13 19:54:26

They were, as you say, "known".

No reason to subject everyone to state poking about because the agencies to which this family was known acted in a way that meant this was able to happen.

Captainbarnacles1101 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:54:39

I agree with op. And I certainly disagree that HV are useless. They are bloody over worked and bogged down with paper work. I agree with regular visits if only it was possible.
If a parent is doing their job they won't mind the visits as they will have nothing to hide.

PenguinDancer Thu 03-Oct-13 19:56:04

My job involves HVs.

I did not get in the way of my HV coming but she missed the fact that I had horrendous depression, crippling anxiety and lived in complete filth and squander - as did my DS sad because I knew she was coming. So I gutted every time she came and pretended every thing was happy days. (Thankfully I eventually broke, sought help and now live in cleanliness and happiness for real)

I don't know that she could have picked it up tbh without going to family and starting to breach human rights laws.

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 03-Oct-13 19:56:08

As health visitors are, at best, ineffectual, and at worst, downright dangerous - no. YABU.

PenguinDancer Thu 03-Oct-13 19:57:18

My point being that I don't think HVs can do enough to help this horrendous kind of situation. People can easily hide things. If it wasn't starvation it would have been something else.

CreatureRetorts Thu 03-Oct-13 20:00:19

Actually why the jeff should we need a law for people to act properly and professionally?

Something is seriously broken if professionals can brush over or ignore the fact that children are in a sorry state (she had a few children, some at school) that a baby hadn't been seen since 2 weeks old, that she was answering doors drunk etc etc

Why on earth weren't dots being joined up.

And if this is blamed on budget cuts - I would like to know why someone who should have been doing their job, didn't because they didn't have enough time knowing that a child could be being neglected?


littlewhitebag Thu 03-Oct-13 20:00:29

I work fairly closely with HV in my job as a sw. They are mostly fantastic but are vastly over stretched. They will make unannounced visits to families we are concerned about and monitor things closely. However if a family won't let you over the doorstep it can be difficult to gain access.

I don't think what OP is suggesting is remotely feasible because of cost and because most families just don't require that level of scrutiny. I do however think that this boy was failed massively by agencies.

DieDeutschLehrerin Thu 03-Oct-13 20:01:42

I think, probably, that if you are known to the authorities, and are obstructive, then it's reasonable to say the police and relevant authorities should be granted access.

However, for the vast majority of parents I'm afraid YABU. It is a tiny and irrational minority who abuse their children in this way and it would be a colossal waste of insufficient resources to check on all parents in this way.

Also once, children reach school age they are seen daily by adults who could report concerns. Stronger intervention after this point maybe worth focusing on here.

MrsPatrickDempsey Thu 03-Oct-13 20:04:06

So, Onesleep, you know every HV do you? Don't believe you have met me...........

pining Thu 03-Oct-13 20:04:13

I am shocked at the lack of post natal care and home visits. I have a 9 year age gap between my dc and I'm sure that 9 yrs ago, we had much more support and checks done. I haven't seen a hv since a home visit when my ds was around 6 weeks......he is now over a year. As far as they know anything could be happening. I guess it's all the cutbacks but so sickening and very very sad to think of all those poor children. Something needs to be done.

Tiredemma Thu 03-Oct-13 20:07:14

Ive just had a DD after last having a baby 10 years ago. The 'lack' of contact has astounded me to be honest. Im actually still waiting to be 'signed off' by my midwife. DD is 4 weeks old.

PenguinDancer Thu 03-Oct-13 20:08:40

pining, to my knowledge automatic pre-school checks are post natal, 6-8 weeks, 2 years and now 27-30 months.

Any others are either unscheduled or by recall. We are lucky, our HVs go round for a 16 week, a 13 month and various others as well.

friday16 Thu 03-Oct-13 20:09:04

If we're swapping serious case reviews, an arguably even more distressing case is today's SCR into the death of Keanu Williams, full report here.

In this case, there wasn't the slightest problem with access. Not only was the mother known to social services, she was a care leaver herself, and she at no point attempted to avoid contact. But she knew the language and expected behaviours that social workers were looking for, and the process was subverted so that she became the focus of attention as an adult with needs, rather than her child (which is, pretty much, what happened in the Peter Connolly case).

I'm sceptical as to whether social workers should be so easy to deceive, and the SCR makes reference to the need for respectful disbelief. But it is undeniably the case that even social workers who have been brought into a case because of suspicions of abuse or neglect are too easy to deceive. Health Visitors whose work is mostly about the 99.999 recurring percent of mothers who are not abusers will not be going into houses with that disbelief, and would therefore be even less likely to pick it up.

bundaberg Thu 03-Oct-13 20:11:11

no, i don't.
i've met some truly lovely health visitors in my time, I think they do a great job. But if I don't want to see one I reserve my right not to have to!

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 20:11:22

My HV was brilliant.

I don't think making HV visits, SW visits, or any kind of visits compulsory are going to stop this sort of thing unfortunately.

The children were 'known'. There has been talk on the News today about how Keanu Williams was let down and could have been saved. The trouble is, people can not keep expecting these agencies to do their jobs properly and effectively when their budgets are being stripped right back, when they are under staffed.

It's Society letting these poor little mites down. It's never any bodies business.sad

AmberLeaf Thu 03-Oct-13 20:11:26

No reason to subject everyone to state poking about because the agencies to which this family was known acted in a way that meant this was able to happen

I think I agree with this.

Ultimately that little boys death was caused by his Mother, but surely someone in a professional capacity should have done something? I haven't followed it 100%, but I read about the father saying he had approached the police/possibly social services and begged them to step in.

I think turning up with the police for every parent who misses a HV appt is OTT and unworkable though.

friday16 Thu 03-Oct-13 20:12:00

Also once, children reach school age they are seen daily by adults who could report concerns.

Hmm. In both the Daniel Pelka and Keanu Williams cases, schools did raise concerns, but were fobbed off. In the Pelka case I think the criticism that they didn't follow it up further is justified, but in the Williams case Social Services explicitly told them that the case had been investigated and there were no further concerns; in that case, the criticism of the school for not escalating the case seems desperately unfair.

CreatureRetorts Thu 03-Oct-13 20:12:33

By saying that the boy was failed by agencies, it somehow distracts from the fact that someone (or a few people) messed up and missed something.

Shellywelly1973 Thu 03-Oct-13 20:15:31

After my 4th dc I literally begged my hv for help... I got nothing, absolutely nothing.

I live in one of the poorest boroughs in London. We've had 2 very high profile children's deaths in this borough.

Hv are far & few between. My youngest dc is 5. His one & only developmental check was at 10 weeks old. He's had all his vaccinations. I never attended a weighing clinic as there was only one a month and the wait was ridiculous, especially as I have an older dc who's autistic, who wasn't in any educational setting at the time due th his sn.

So yes the system should work better. The existing system is failing due to lack of money and staff. Where will the funds come from to improve these services or even totally reorganise them??

SaucyJack Thu 03-Oct-13 20:16:02

YABU. These families are always "known" to somebody, somewhere. The problem is that there are simply not enough resources around to do the job properly. Adding to their caseloads 100-fold would not help in any way.

WestieMamma Thu 03-Oct-13 20:18:40

YABVU Terrible situations like this happen because services are already over-stretched and do not have the resources to follow up. How would increasing their responsibilities a thousand fold help?

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