Claims that tragic toddler Mikaeel Kular’s social workers failed to carry out vital check-ups in the weeks before his death have been dismissed by Fife Council.
Reports yesterday claimed that Mikaeel and his mother Rosdeep Adekoya had not been seen by social workers for two months before his death in January 2014.
But Fife Council – which was dealing with the family even when they lived in Edinburgh – insist both the toddler and Adekoya, 35, were seen at a meeting before a hearing on December 10, 2013, when the decision was made to terminate the family’s home supervision order.
Three-year-old Mikaeel died after being beaten by his mum following a trip to Nando’s five weeks later. His broken body was placed in a suitcase and dumped behind Adekoya’s sister’s house in Kirkcaldy. Earlier this year a review of how the tragic case was handled cleared social workers in Edinburgh and Fife of any blame.
Dougie Dunlop, head of children and families at Fife Council, said: “The death of any child is a tragedy. The loss of Mikaeel in such terrible circumstances has been particularly devastating for his family, those who worked with them, and two local communities in Edinburgh and Fife.
“It is important to note that the independent review which was carried out following Mikaeel’s death had all the information regarding contact with the children and this information was fully considered in it reaching the conclusion that Mikaeel’s death could not have been predicted
The loss of Mikaeel in such terrible circumstances has been particularly devastatingDougie Dunlop
“The frequency of visits to Mikaeel by the staff involved was commented on positively within the report, which said that he was seen regularly by workers and there was never any evidence of physical harm. Mikaeel was seen monthly following his return home, including on December 10 when his order was discharged.”
Following a period when Mikaeel and his four siblings were taken into care, social workers made five visits to the family – roughly one every month – between August 9 and November 11, 2013.
After a visit on November 11, the next monthly meeting on December 4 was cancelled as “no mutual times were agreed”. Social workers instead arranged to visit the family five days later, on December 9, but this was rearranged for the following day to coincide with the children’s hearing.
It is understood Adekoya and her children were all present at the meeting on December 10.
Trisha Hall, manager at the Scottish Association of Social Workers, said the review into Mikaeel’s death ordered by Edinburgh and Fife councils had found “absolutely no evidence” his death could have been prevented.
But she added burgeoning case loads and ongoing budget cuts had left social workers struggling to cope.
She said: “The majority of social workers would really like to provide [ongoing] aftercare, and would like to be more involved and do this kind of detailed assessment, but with the level of child protection now and with the cuts – there are going to be consequences.
“It’s horrible when a child dies in any circumstances – and believe me, the social workers who visited the family regularly will really, really struggle with what happened.”