The murder of a baby girl called Elsie – who had been adopted by a homosexual couple with the approval of the Vale of Glamorgan Council – is to be the subject of an independent “Child Practice Review” – councillors were told last night .
The adoption case had been reviewed by two social workers and then formally approved by Vale of Glamorgan Adoption in July 2015 after a string of procedural checks .These included criminal records checks, medical examinations, social services checks and local authority checks.
After all the required checks and appraisals had been carried out, the male couple were declared to be satisfactory “parents“. The little girl was formally adopted by them in September 2015.
However from November 2015 little Elsie sustained a series of serious injuries whilst in the “care” of one of the couple – Matthew Scully-Hicks – culminating in her death in May 2016. She was just 18 months old. [ On November 6th 2017 Matthew Scully-Hicks was convicted of Elsie’s murder and on November 7th was sentenced to life imprisonment]
Last night Cllr Ian Johnson ((Plaid Cymru, Buttrills Ward, Barry) who leads his party in the council asked Cllr Gordon Kemp cabinet member for social care and health “Will the cabinet member make a statement about the tragic case of Elsie Scully-Hicks and the process for ensuring that any mistakes are not repeated.?”
Cllr Kemp replied “The director of Social Services emailed all elected members following the conviction of Matthew Scully-Hicks for the murder of his adopted daughter Elsie Scully-Hicks. The Regional Children’s Safeguarding Board, the relevant statutory body, has commissioned an independent child practice review into the tragic death of Elsie. This is a multi-agency process to see what lessons can be learned and the review itself , when concluded, will be in the public domain. We will obviusly take the findings of the Child Practice Review extremely seriously. It will not be appropriate to comment futrther until this process has been concluded ”
Cllr Johnson said that – as the vice-chair of the relevant scrutiny committee – he had not been informed of this case and its consequences in advance – and had only found out about the involvement of the Vale of Glamorgan Council through media reports.
“I found that very difficult and upsetting and hard to deal with ” he said – and asked how the council could ensure that councillors were kept informed and did not discover this “when it’s emblazoned across the news”.
Cllr Kemp in response said “It’s always a difficult matter as to what information is given but it’s something we can look at for the future. As far as this particular case is concerned I don’t want to add anything to what I have said already”