BASW would like to express its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Frankie Hedgecock and all of those who had direct contact with her in providing support and care.
The subsequent Serious Case Review (SCR) that was published recently clearly highlights the complexity of safeguarding work that social workers undertake every day and the importance of always remaining child focused.
It must be remembered though, that SCR’s, as stated in statutory guidance, are primarily about learning and improvement, not blame.
The SCR into Frankie’s tragic death highlights the complexity of safeguarding work that social workers undertake every day and the importance of remaining child focused at all times.
It also raises the professional challenges of working with a primary carer who may present as compliant and working with multi-agency representatives, resulting in an ‘overly optimistic’ view about a carers ability to safeguard and prioritise the wellbeing of their child.
The impact of domestic violence, substance misuse. mental health and understanding adult past experiences are all important considerations reinforced by the importance of ‘professional curiosity’ and the paramount importance of not losing sight of the child/children.
The review also highlights the importance of reflective supervision, training and development, particularly in relation to the legal implications of supervision orders.
While no child protection system can guarantee such deaths will never reoccur, BASW fully supports the need for training and continuous professional training for social workers in these important professional areas of knowledge and practice.