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KILLING FANS CHILD AGENCY DEBATE

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Ministers are considering setting up a statutory child protection agency in the wake of the killing of Ainlee Walke...
Ministers are considering setting up a statutory child protection agency in the wake of the killing of Ainlee Walker, the two-year-old girl systematically tortured and starved to death, reported The Observer (p 13).

The government is examining whether a new agency would be better equipped than local social services teams to prevent such tragedies. The idea is being considered by Downing Street's policy unit as part of a wide-ranging look at children's services and is also being investigated within the department of health. Directors of social services have warned that such a large-scale reorganisation could cause more turmoil and that taking responsibility from council control would not necessarily ensure better protection for the most vulnerable families.

David Hinchcliffe, Labour chairman of the commons health select committee, said he was not convinced a new agency was the solution, adding that he would rather see health and social workers being brought back into one team.

Ainlee had been on the file of Newham LBC social services since her birth in June 1999. A year later the case was closed, against the advice of health professionals. She was taken back into the system five months before her death, but was not seen again by them.
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