Social worker to be charged over toddler death
In what it the first case of its kind in the Netherlands, the public prosecution department (OM) is to charge a senior social worker with involuntary manslaughter following the killing of a three-year-old girl in her care.
The girl, Savanna, died in 2004 after a lifetime of abuse. Her 32-year-old mother was sentenced to six years in jail followed by psychiatric prison for killing the girl. Savanna was systematically beaten and starved throughout her short life. She weighed just 10 kilos when she died.
The OM says the social worker had not done her research properly or taken enough notice of signs that Savanna was being mistreated. The child had been under official supervision since 2002 when she was removed from her home for six months.
The OM began its investigation into the role of the social worker, technically the girl’s legal guardian, last year.
In a statement issued today, the department said that given the seriousness of the case, and the fact the girl eventually died, it had been decided to ask judges to give their verdict on the social worker’s role. A lawyer for the social worker told NOS tv that her client had already filed an appeal against the charges.
Savanna eventually choked to death after being gagged. Her body was found in the boot of a car when her mother and stepfather were on their way to dump her remains. Several official investigations into the case laid bare a chain of failure. Despite numerous signs of neglect, the interests of the mother were repeatedly put before those of the child, the reports said.
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