How much does negative media coverage of social workers affect you?
- Severely (40%, 422 Votes)
- Moderately (37%, 386 Votes)
- A little (15%, 152 Votes)
- Not at all, it's all white noise (8%, 87 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,047
Finley Boden’s murder by his parents is being examined by a case review that will report later this year.
The child safeguarding practice review is looking at agencies’ involvement with Finley and his parents, Stephen Boden and Shannon Marsden, both before his birth and in the course of his 10-month life
Last week, Boden and Marsden were convicted of Finley’s murder, in the early hours of Christmas Day, 2020, 39 days after he was returned to their care.
Finley was taken into care shortly after his birth, in February 2020, but was returned to his parents later that year through a court order following an eight-week transition, despite Derbyshire council social workers requesting a six-month period, the BBC has reported.
Parents ‘evasive with professionals’
Professionals saw Finley regularly, and found him to be developing well and health, after his return but both parents were evasive with health practitioners and social workers, said Derbyshire Constabulary.
Despite Boden and Marsden telling paramedics that Finley had been poorly with a high temperature and cold, the police said a post-mortem found he had 71 bruises and two burns on his body, caused by multiple, separate assaults.
Finley also had 57 fractures, including 17 fractured ribs, a fractured collarbone, wrist, shoulder, left thigh bone, right shin bone and both thighs, with a paediatrician concluding he would have been in “severe and protracted pain” before his death.
Detective Inspector Stephen Shaw, who led the investigation into Finley’s death, said he was much loved by his wider family and had enjoyed happy times with them.
Parents ‘did not even take Finley to hospital’
He added: “As a parent you have no greater responsibility than to a child that is in your care but Boden and Marsden could not even bring themselves to take Finley to hospital when it was absolutely clear that he was critically ill.
“They have never given a reasonable explanation as to why they did not do this, but it appears to be abundantly clear that their primary concern was their own freedom – and not the life of Finley.”
“Finley’s death is a tragedy and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to everyone who knew and loved him,” said a Derbyshire council spokesperson.
BASW highlights role of Covid lockdowns
She said the authority was “fully engaged” with the practice review, commissioned by Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership, adding: “The review is conducted independently and it would not be appropriate for us to comment further until that review is complete to ensure we do not pre-empt its findings. Once the review process has concluded we will be in a position to communicate more fully about this case.”
The British Association of Social Workers sent its condolences to Finley’s family and all those affected by his murder, and also highlighted the potential impact of Covid lockdowns on professionals’ access to him.
It added: “We await the outcome of the local child safeguarding practice review to understand findings and learning, including the potential impact of manipulative behaviour and how Covid was reported to have been used to stop agencies seeing Finley during lockdowns in 2020.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible tragedy at this very sad and painful time.”
Finley’s tragic murder, like many previous child deaths, has led to public and media criticism of social work. How is this affecting you in your practice? Please comment below.