5.25 Child E (2004) became a looked after child when she was aged 12. She had an abusive family background and her parents had mental health problems. She became a victim of child sexual exploitation while she was looked after in a local children’s unit. Her looked after file could not be traced, although minutes from looked after reviews were accessed on the Risky Business file. Child E was described as very naïve, and desperate for affection. She was very vulnerable to coercion and was sexually exploited when a looked after child by adult males she thought were her boyfriends. Notes from the children’s unit files at the time suggest there was a level of chaos surrounding the care of Child E and other children in the unit, with staff powerless as older children in the residential units introduced younger and more vulnerable children like Child E to predatory adult males who were targeting children’s homes.
5.26 Whilst looked after, she was prematurely moved into semi-independent accommodation, where she became even more at risk of harm. She was then admitted to a residential adolescent mental health unit after she suffered a psychotic episode. There is evidence on the file that at that point every effort was made by social care staff to support her and find a suitable care placement. She was found a specialist foster placement at the age of 16, and benefited from a supportive and caring environment. Whilst there was some evidence of positive outcomes when she was 16, the longer term outcomes for this child are not known.