A FATHER convicted of neglect after his baby was found with multiple injuries has been given a two-year community order with supervision.
Bristol Crown Court heard a "grave failure" by social services at North Somerset Council resulted in the newborn tot suffering multiple injuries at the hands of her inadequate parents.
Social worker Sara Matty warned her bosses that the couple, from Weston-super-Mare, were incapable of caring for their child and urged that the baby be placed in a mother and baby residential unit.
But the court heard she was ignored and the baby was allowed to go home with the parents.
When she was just 23 days old she was taken to hospital where doctors diagnosed first a broken leg then further fractures to her rib, wrist, hip, and knees.
An MRI scan then revealed bleeding around her skull and a brain injury. The injuries were consistent with her being shaken or thrown against a surface, the court heard.
The mother in her 30s and father in his 20s both pleaded guilty to causing cruelty to a child on the basis of neglect yesterday.
Judge David Ticehurst ordered they should not be named in order to protect the identity of the child.
He handed the mother a two-year community order and had deferred sentence on the father until yesterday, when he imposed the same sentence on him.
The judge told him: "You clearly were far too young and not able to look after a young child. You were let down by social services."
At the earlier hearing Judge Ticehurst told the pair they were improperly equipped to properly care for young children but said a young child should not have been allowed to remain with them.
He said: "That (the child) was left in the care of these inadequate parents when their inadequacies were known is a grave failure of social services at North Somerset Council.
"The director of social services should carry out a full investigation and take action to remedy matters.
"For social services to take a decision as to the welfare of a child on the basis of cost and/or a lack or resources should raise grave questions as to the management procedures of North Somerset Council. The welfare of children is too important to be subject to cost cutting measures."
Robert Duval, prosecuting, said both parents had learning difficulties.
The mother had children from a previous relationship who had already been put in care and then adopted due to concerns about their safety.
When she fell pregnant again a "plan of support" was drawn up by social services and Ms Matty recommended that the baby be cared for in a mother and baby unit to ensure her welfare, but her recommendation was not followed.
The baby was allowed home with her parents, with support from healthcare providers in the week and the father's parents at weekends.
The father explained the leg injury by saying he had slipped while changing the baby on the floor.
Neither he nor his partner could account for the other injuries.
The child was taken into care and is up for adoption, and although she has recovered physically it is unknown whether her difficulty in reaching expected milestones in development is down to genetics or her injuries.
Sarah Regan, defending the mother, said her client loved her baby but pleaded guilty on the basis of neglect, rather than causing direct damage.
"What she needs is help with her thinking skills," she said.
Robin Shellard, defending the father, said: "They were emotionally and intellectually children.
"They are not inherently wicked. They are inherently inadequate when it comes to parenting."
Afterwards North Somerset Council said in a statement: "This family received extensive support and guidance from North Somerset Council as we attempted to keep them all together.
"Unfortunately this high level of support did not prevent these events from happening and we are deeply sorry for that.
"This area of social work is an extremely challenging one, where complicated individual circumstances have to be considered when making any judgement about parenting.
"We have carried out a full review of our procedures in light of this case and will carefully consider the judge's comments to see if further chang es are needed."