Translating learning into action Overview of learning from case management reviews in Northern Ireland 2003-2008

Boy sitting on stairsCase management reviews (CMRs) are undertaken in Northern Ireland after a child dies or is seriously injured, and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor.

This report brings together key learning from 24 case management reviews completed in Northern Ireland from 2003 to 2008.

This research was conducted by NSPCC and Queen's University Belfast research

Author: John Devaney, Lisa Bunting, David Hayes and Anne Lazenbatt
Year: 2013

  • The 24 CMRs involve 45 children.
  • Children died due to physical or sexual assault; sudden unexplained death in infancy (SUDI); suicide and accidents.
  • Parental mental health problems, drug or alcohol misuse and domestic violence were common themes.
  • Parental problems put children at risk due to a lack of care and supervision; a chaotic family lifestyle; and inappropriate physical and sexual behaviour towards children by adults.
  • Due to existing family difficulties, most of the children were already known to social services.
  • However, these children were amongst hundreds living in very similar circumstances and who were known to professionals. The reviews concluded that it was unlikely that the children who died or were seriously injured could have been identified as being at heightened risk.

Themes for learning

The report highlights a number of key themes for learning around: 

  • early and sustained intervention
  • child neglect
  • thresholds for intervention
  • communication and information sharing between professionals
  • recording and record keeping
  • compliance with established policies and practice
  • assessment and analysis of information
  • supervision, staff support and training
  • keeping the focus on the child
  • organisational and staffing context
  • inter and intra agency working
List of tables and figures 2
Foreword 5
Executive Summary 7
Introduction 11
The Case Management Review process 18
Learning from other overview processes 25
Methodology for the analysis of Case Management Review reports 35
Case profiles 37
The key themes 47
The process of review 60
Reflections 65
Appendices 68
References 88

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