The conduct of three social and mental health workers is being investigated following the death of a troubled teenager, the M.E.N. can reveal.
It comes after a damning serious case review published earlier this month found ‘more could and should have been done’ to help Charlotte Baron.
The 14-year-old, who was identified as being at ‘high risk’ of self-harm, was found hanged in her bedroom at her home in Falinge, Rochdale, in February 2016.
Now regulatory body the Health and Care Professions Council, which oversees social workers, has confirmed it is investigating the case.
It’s understood two social services staff involved in the case have been reported to the HCPC. Both no longer work for Rochdale council.
A spokeswoman for the HCPC said: “The HCPC is aware of the inquest in relation to the death of Charlotte Baron.
“We are currently making enquiries as to whether there are any fitness-to-practise concerns in relation to HCPC registrants that need to be investigated.”
A spokeswoman for the Pennine Care NHS Trust said a member of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service has also been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council in connection with Charlotte’s death.
It’s understood the staff member has since resigned from her role at the trust.
Charlotte, who was known to social services and was being seen by a mental health worker, had a history of self-harming.
The St Cuthbert’s High School pupil, the child of an alcoholic mother and a violent father, suffered a chaotic and troubled upbringing and had tried to take her own life on two previous occasions.
But, as the M.E.N. reported, the SCR found her main social worker had just one year’s experience and needed ‘consistent management support’.
Despite this, and a realisation that Charlotte’s mum Veronica Kilbride was a ‘very difficult client to work with’, the review found ‘management oversight of this case was poor’.
One social worker’s description of Charlotte’s death as a ‘shock’ was also described as ‘out of step with the reality’ and there was also a ‘gross naivety’ in a belief among social services that Charlotte’s mum would tackle her drinking problem.
The support from Pennine Care NHS Trust’s Child and Adolescent and Mental Health Service was also criticised by the review.
No one from CAMHS attended any of the multi-agency ‘Child in Need’ meetings which were held to discuss Charlotte and her family’s case.
Her mental health worker, said to be an ‘experienced practitioner’, was also criticised for not making a ‘robust challenge’ to social services when she felt Charlotte’s needs were not being met.
Standards of record-keeping in CAMHS were also found to be fallen ‘much short of agency standards’.
Coun Donna Martin, Rochdale council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Although the actions of agencies like the council and NHS did not cause or contribute to the tragic death of Charlotte Baron, each incident of this kind must be used to ask ourselves if we could or should have done more.
“I know that is already being done and I will continue to ensure that the recommendations made in the serious case review report are implemented.”
Helplines and websites
Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information. http://www.depressionalliance.org/
Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying. http://studentsagainstdepression.org/
The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029) helps people who are struggling to cope – experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or in crisis. You can call them between 8pm and 6am every night.