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Haringey 'Regret' Over New Child Abuse Case
Haringey Council has apologised for failing to prevent a toddler from suffering horrific abuse before he was finally taken into care.
The boy - named as Child T - was found to have 50 bruises on his body at one stage and spoke of being hit with a belt and stick.
Haringey Council has previously been heavily criticised over the deaths of Peter Connelly, also known as Baby P, and Victoria Climbie.
A serious case review now accuses it of "confusion" and "lacking focus" over the latest case.
Child T was the subject of two investigations in 2010 and 2011 after suffering "extensive injuries", according to the review.
His half-sister also told authorities she was sometimes abused.
But on both occasions Child T was returned from hospital back to his family, where the abuse continued.
The first injuries took place in summer 2010 when he was taken to London's North Middlesex Hospital with bruising around the eyes, forehead and nose.
Mr C - his mother's partner - told authorities the child often ran around the house and "bangs and hits himself on the wall".
When police and social services later visited the child's home, the man claimed the boy bruised very easily.
Despite a paediatrician expressing "strong concern" he was being beaten, police found no cause for concern at the house and stopped investigating.
Two more sets of injuries were discovered in February 2011 when officers were called to the house over claims of domestic violence.
Child T was found badly bruised and his mother's partner - who also had a heroin problem - was arrested.
The child had more than 50 bruises on his body, and the little boy told a doctor he had been beaten with a belt and stick.
Mr C denied beating the child, but his mother contradicted that story and said she had suspected her partner of abuse.
The child's half-sister also told police Mr C had "tried to drown her" during bath time and said she had once been hit with a rod.
Social services started taking steps to bring the children into care.
But because Mr C remained in police custody, there was no immediate attempt to remove them from the home.
More new bruising was discovered just days later during another hospital visit and Child T and his three siblings were finally taken into care.
Experts later said the injuries were likely to have been inflicted by the boy's mother or grandmother.
Haringey Council's involvement in the case was "misguided and lacked focus", said the serious case review.
It said the "evidence was highly suggestive of child abuse" and "there was evidence of organisational confusion" within both health and social services.
The chairman of Haringey's Safeguarding Children Board, Graham Badman, expressed his "sincere regret" for the children's suffering.
He said: "What is clear is that because of failings in the system this child suffered physical abuse that could have been prevented.
"It would be an oversimplification to describe this case as a series of missed opportunities - they existed but there is more seriously, compelling evidence of individual and systemic failure."
The board has announced changes, including ways to improve communication and information sharing.
However, Mr Badman added: "Arguably it is not more change that is needed, but action to ensure that agreed systems are used and their effectiveness monitored and evaluated."
Katherine Reece, Lib Dem councillor in Labour-controlled Haringey, described the lapses as "appalling".
"Again, a failure by many agencies across the borough to protect a vulnerable child," Ms Reece said.