Teenage boy who died at secure home was failed by safety checks
A TEENAGER who was supposed to be checked every three minutes at Wales’ only secure children’s home wasn’t – and died.
Hillside Secure Children’s Home in Neath has been criticised in a report by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman published this week.
Neath Port Talbot Council, which manages the secure children’s home (SCH), gave condolences to the young person’s family and friends and added that it was unable to comment any further until the inquest had finished.
SCHs hold young offenders aged 10-17 as well as those placed there by councils on welfare grounds.
In the report, which refers to the teenager as “Child S”, it said he died in February 2017 from unknown causes, possibly sudden arrhythmic death syndrome.
It said: “Child S was found dead in his room one morning. He had been taken to hospital the previous month after suffering a seizure.
“When he returned to the SCH, staff were required to check on him in his room every three minutes overnight. This entailed looking through the observation panel on the door to his room.”
In the report, it said the investigation found these checks had not been carried out as often as they should have been. When staff had concerns about his welfare and entered his room, he had been dead for some time.
“We found that the wellbeing checks carried out on Child S were ineffective as they failed to identify that he was no longer alive,” the report continued.
“Troublingly, some staff recorded that checks had been carried out when they had not. Staff also seemed unclear about the purpose of the checks and how they should be carried out.”
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman investigated the deaths of two children at the SCH in 2017-18 – Child S and Child R, who was the first child to take her life in an SCH in over 20 years.
This was the first time they had investigated SCH deaths.