A 13-month-old boy died in the middle of the street in November 2021, after suffering domestic abuse. However, he was hospitalized and followed by Childhood Social Assistance.
Could the death of a 13-month-old baby in Le Mans (Sarthe) have been avoided? It is difficult to answer clearly, but the “failures” were identified by the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS) in a damning report, said Monday Radio France.
The baby, born in Nantes, was hospitalized several times and was the subject of a child protection measure, before he died in the middle of the street in November 2021.
One leg fracture and three fractures were found
When he was first taken care of, the baby was only 5 months old. His left leg, swollen and painful, was broken, diagnosed at Nantes University Hospital, in Loire-Atlantique. According to the child’s parents, their child fell alone on the bed. The family, who arrived in France two months earlier, stayed at the hotel.
The x-rays taken show that the child is suffering, in addition to this recent injury, from 3 other older fractures. The hospital suspected domestic abuse and filed a report with the prosecution. He is also asking for protection of the child urgently.
Quickly, justice took the case in hand. A magistrate ordered a temporary stay and called for the opening of an investigation. But a computer problem prevented the case from being transferred. Result: the investigation is not opened.
The baby who was breastfed, finally made the decision to leave him with his mother in the hospital. Only the father must be away from his son, before the whole family is reunited at home three weeks later.
A bad file was sent
New episode on May 9, 2021. This time, the baby is coughing up blood. The medical team suspected tuberculosis, but the test was negative. Then doctors suspect new acts of abuse, but nothing to put in place, the family suddenly leaves Nantes for Le Mans.
This change of residence also has the effect of shortening the poor supports from which the child benefited. The child’s welfare file was in fact not sent, the documents indicating the suspicion of ill-treatment were not specifically given to the pediatric service of Le Mans. Only the request for placement makes the journey better.
Three hospital visits followed in less than two months. Despite the proliferation of alerts, only an educational proposal to help in an open environment is voiced. It consists of simple visits to the family home.
For lack of staff, the first meeting will only take place on October 4th. It’s too late. The baby died shortly afterwards, on the 16th, in the street. The cause of death? “Multiple lesions of traumatic origin”.
Social services are underfunded
After a long investigation, IGAS, which was seized in December 2021, denounced many shortcomings. He points out in particular the lack of placement of the child, the subject of a measure of protection that is too light in view of the gravity of the facts.
“A baby cannot leave alone or alert if he is a victim of violence”, denounced Michèle Créoff, child protection specialist and former vice-president of the National Council for Child Protection.
According to the expert, social services continue to pronounce simple measures of educational assistance in an open environment to very young children to avoid imposing the “torture” of a separation between the child and parents , but also for economic reasons. .
“(The lives of these children) were sacrificed to the financial problems of the departments”, he lamented.
A drama destined to repeat itself?
For IGAS, this case is far from isolated. The agency blames the lack of means and personnel, at the root of tragedies like this. The report does not hesitate to make a link between the case of the little boy from Le Mans and the case of little Marina, who died under the blow of her parents in 2009, while she was being followed of child protection.
“The persistence of these risks increases the fear of the repetition of such situations”, worries the report which lists 27 recommendations to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.
The department of Loire-Atlantique responds by ensuring that efforts have been made, as ASE files are now automatically sent in the event of a proposal in an open environment.
A “collective blindness”
The Deputy Director General for Solidarity at the Departmental Council of Sarthe produces for his part a “collective blindness” in Maine is free. “In this case, everyone is missing information,” he said.
Contacted by Radio France, the Secretary of State for Children admitted for its part “difficulties” in “some departments” where there are “significant delays in the implementation of open environment measures” and the weak transmission of records between departments.
Among the projects underway to prevent new violations, the secretariat mentioned the digitization of health data to prevent files from being lost in one step or even the creation of “departmental committees”.