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Coroner to disclose information to Kidderminster teen's parents
THE parents of a Kidderminster teenager who was found hanged while she was in voluntary foster care have been given permission to see confidential information from a Serious Case Review.
Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams announced at a third pre-inquest review that he will disclose information to the parents of 16-year-old Dana Baker, Patricia and Trevor Baker, so they can fully participate in the inquest into the death of their daughter.
Miss Baker was found hanging from a tree near to the Worcester Road island in March, 2011 while she was in voluntary foster care.
She had a troubled childhood and had been sexually abused by her karate instructor from the age of 13.
Mr Williams' decision came after he was granted permission by London's High Court last year to see 10 individual management reviews (IMRs) and six information reports as part of a Serious Case Review put together by the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB).
The decision whether to disclose the documents to the public or interested parties, including Miss Baker's family, was left to Mr Williams, subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court.
At the pre-inquest hearing, Mr Williams considered the balance "fell in favour of Mr and Mrs Baker" as they were a "properly interested" party and needed to see the documents to fully participate.
Mr Williams will give them access to reports made by the main agencies who dealt with Miss Baker including the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust , the Childcare Bureau, Worcestershire Children's Services and the Independent Fostering Agency.
He said he would not disclose documents to "all and sundry" as this would undermine the philosophy of the Serious Case Review which is to learn lessons about how agencies can work better together to protect children from serious abuse.
He added: "Whilst it can be said, Mr and Mrs Baker are members of the public, they stand in a very different position."
Mr Williams had previously asked for representations from agencies about whether he should disclose the information.
He said only two of the agencies, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and the North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust, were not against the disclosure of their IMRs.
The North Staffordshire Trust has already given other agencies and Miss Baker's family a copy of its review.
Agencies will now have one month to appeal Mr Williams' decision before he releases the information to "properly interested parties" including Miss Baker's family.
The overview of the SCR will be published after Miss Baker's inquest, which is due to take place in May.
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