Welfare agencies missed 50 chances to save toddler who died of methadone overdose at hands of heroin-addict parents
- Jayden Lee Green was given the drug by his parents who used it to sedate him when he was grisly
- His father Jamie Green was jailed for nine years and his mother Sonia Britton was jailed for four years
- Trial heard the family lived in a rubbish strewn flat where crack pipes were kept under the sink
- The fatal dose of methadone Jayden Lee was given wasn't the first time he'd been given the drug
- Damning report reveals a more authoritative approach to the family may have prevented his death
By EMILY ALLEN
Welfare agencies missed 50 chances to save a toddler who died from a methadone overdose after social workers failed to take him into care, a damning report has revealed.
Jayden Lee Green, who was just a month short of his second birthday, was found dead in his parents’ bed after overdosing on the heroin substitute in August last year.
The toddler, who was given the drug to sedate him, lived with his crack cocaine and heroin-addicted parents Jamie Green and Sonia Britton in a filthy flat in the St Georges area of Bristol.
A serious case review, commissioned by Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, found there were more than 50 'missed opportunities' by professional agencies to intervene which began even before he was born.
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Tragic: Jayden Lee with his mother Sonia Britton who bought her son up with partner Jamie Green in a filthy flat in the St Georges area of Bristol. He was just a month short of his second birthday when he was found dead
Before his birth there were concerns that Britton was regularly injecting heroin while also taking methadone during the pregnancy. Following his birth he became subject of a child protection plan but that was discontinued.
A second child protection plan was commenced but moves to take Jayden Lee into care were never initiated, the review said.
During this time Green and Britton continued to use heroin and methadone and were also were falsifying regular urine tests. They pair later admitted they 'knew the tricks to get around screening'.
The report also found that there was a lack of co-operation from Jayden Lee’s parents with all involved in dealing with them. This included drug agencies, midwifery, housing, health visitors, social workers and there were also regular failures to keep appointments or be at home when visits were made.
The report stated: 'What was lacking was the authoritative challenge to this lack of co-operation, there was a lack of enforcement of consequences. There was a lack of challenge by practitioners across the range of agencies.'
The report, which referred to Jayden Lee as 'Child K' throughout, continued: 'The extent of the parents’ lack of engagement, avoidance and dishonesty grew over time and although this was recognised by practitioners there was insufficient challenge by professional and no sustained, planned approach to protecting the child.
Failures: Jayden Lee pictured with his father Jamie Green. The report into his death stated that the extent of the parents’ lack of engagement, avoidance and dishonesty grew over time but professionals didn't challenge this
'The only way that Child K’s death would definitely have been prevented was if he had been placed away from his parents.
'The opportunity to do this was lost due to the failure to follow through on the initiation of care proceedings. However, a better-planned and authoritative approach to the family may also have prevented his death.'
It was revealed today that Jayden Lee suffered two head injuries - one at seven weeks and one at 11 weeks - and his parents gave the same explanation.
The report stated that this should have raised concerns that the injuries were not accidental.
The boy also sustained injuries to his face at 21 and 23 months old and again the same explanations were given when he was seen by medical professionals.
Britton, 35, and Green, 33, were accused of killing their son by giving him the drug that they were both prescribed by doctors.
Prison: Mother Sonia Britton, 35, with her son who was convicted of child cruelty and was jailed for four years
Tribute: A Facebook message posted by Jamie Green after the death of his son. He was convicted of manslaughter and causing cruelty to a child and jailed for nine years at Bristol Crown Court
After a three week trial at Bristol Crown Court, Green was convicted of manslaughter and causing cruelty to a child and jailed for nine years.
The jury cleared Britton of manslaughter but convicted her of child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child. She was jailed for four years.
The trial heard that there were bags of rubbish lying around their one-bedroom ground floor rented flat, as well as drug paraphernalia kept in cupboards and crack pipes under the sink.
A rolled up cigarette was found in a child’s cot and there were also dirty potties.
Both his parents were prescribed methadone and scientific tests showed the fatal dose administered to Jayden Lee was not the first time he had been given the drug.
Addicted: Britton, 35, left, and Green, 33, right, were accused of killing their son by giving him methadone that they were both prescribed by doctors. Green was convicted of manslaughter and Britton child cruelty
During the trial the court heard that several different agencies were monitoring Green and Britton in caring for their son but they were able to pull the wool over their eyes.
'Sonia Britton and Jamie Green were aware that health care professionals, drug workers as well as social services were monitoring their behaviour as well as trying to help them,' prosecutor William Mousley QC told jurors.
'They created an image with those professionals that they were looking after Jayden Lee. Of course nobody knew they were giving methadone to Jayden Lee.
'While both of them cared about Jayden Lee, he was not their priority. They were drug addicts, whose need for drugs came before Jayden Lee.'
Death: The report said that Jayden Lee's parents created an image with professionals that they were looking after him but no one knew they were giving him methadone. It said their need for drugs came before him
Prof Jones also called on the Government to publish guidance on the testing of children for methadone.
'One of the issues we are grappling with is when methadone is being prescribed, it is not being misused,' he said.
'In particular not being used as a tranquilliser or sedative with children.'
Prof Jones added: 'We are looking for the Government to determine what ought to be the national position in relation to the testing of children.'
Annie Hudson, the city council’s strategic director for children and young people’s services, said: 'Bristol City Council fully accepts the recommendations made in the serious case review into the tragic death of Jayden Lee Green.
'The administering of methadone to Jayden Lee was a deliberate act and one for which the parents are now serving a custodial sentences.
Jayden Lee with is father Jamie. Bristol City Council said at the time of his death there was no evidence of immediate risk to the child and it would have acted immediately had it known he was being given methadone
'However, at the time of his death there was no evidence of immediate risk to Jayden Lee.
'With hindsight, if we had known he was being given methadone, we would have acted immediately to place him away from harm.
'Many of the recommendations outlined in the findings of the report have already been implemented, including a new working group on substance misuse, revised guidance and protocol for practitioners, a review of services for drug-using patients and arrangements for prescribing methadone.
'Two events to improve and strengthen communications are under way.
'Our legal team has introduced new guidelines on how legal advice is given and improved monitoring of the progress of cases.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2198174/Jayden-Lee-Green-Welfare-agencies-missed-50-chances-save-toddler-died-methadone-overdose.html#ixzz25afPENMi