A three year-old girl was so badly neglected that she was unable to walk.

The house was ridden with fleas, urine and animal faeces

The house was ridden with fleas, urine and animal faeces

A serious case review by Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board found that the four children of the unnamed couple had weak bones from malnutrition, were rife with headlice and had numerous other health problems. The three-year old had nappy rash so severe she needed hospital treatment.

The children’s bedrooms were found to contain soiled mattresses, animal faeces and stank of urine and the whole house was flea-infested. The report found that agencies concerned with the the children’s welfare had underestimated the levels of neglect and concluded that neglect should be treated with the same level of seriousness as sexual and physical abuse.

The four children are now either in care of have been placed with family members. The mother and father were jailed for two years nine months and two years respectively after a judge at Gloucester Crown Court branded them “inadequate, stupid, stubborn and reckless.”

The Chair of the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board, David McCallum said: “With neglect it’s more a question of cumulative lack of action, and lack of support of the children that is adversely affecting them and that makes it difficult to assess the significance of what’s happening. It is also about making decisions of whether you can support the parents to reach the standard of care the children require or whether they have to be removed. Actually the parents were not acting on that help and they were still allowing their children to be neglected whilst sometimes taking deliberate action to deceive professionals about the level of that neglect.”

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