Information about alcohol, debt and mental health that could have prevented a baby boy from being placed with a foster mother who murdered him was not shared between agencies, an investigation has found.
He also found that when the mother told social workers she was struggling to bond with the child, the family support was not enough.
Leiland-James Corkill was cared for when she was born and, aged seven months, was placed with Laura and Scott Castle, a couple from Barrow-in-Furness.
Five months later, shortly after her first birthday, the baby died from catastrophic head injuries.
Laura Castle was convicted of murder in May and jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 18 years.
The exact details of what happened may never be known. But a trial at Preston Crown Court heard Castle had a rage with the baby as he kept crying after breakfast and violently shook him to death.
In a letter to the trial judge, the baby’s birth mother, Laura Corkill, said, “He was placed in a monster’s house.”
Corkill, from Whitehaven, said her son would be alive today if she had been allowed to keep him and she criticized the actions of Cumbria County Council.
Speaking to the BBC, she said: “Why did they put him there? Why did it take them so long to figure it out? They should have overturned the adoption order.
The independent report into the boy’s death, released on Thursday, concluded there was relevant information that could have been shared more fully between the agencies.
For example, at the time of the adoption assessment, Castle told a therapy service that she drank six bottles of wine a week and had issues with moodiness, anxiety, and coping. anger. She talked about yelling at her biological daughter too much.
A concern about his drinking was also raised by a consultant gastroenterologist and the information was shared with his GP.
The report says Castle told a social worker she was struggling and worried that she might not love the baby as she had planned. According to the report, there should have been “a faster and stronger response” to these concerns.
Lesley Walker, independent scrutineer for the Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership, said social workers should seek out information and not trust what they are told. They must be “genuinely curious and up for challenges in all areas of day-to-day work with children and families”.
John Readman, executive director of people at Cumbria County Council, said the authority was deeply sorry and offered his condolences.
He said the castles had undergone an eight-month evaluation process and no concerns had been raised by anyone at any agency about their suitability.
“What we now know from the trial and this review is that Laura Castle deliberately and repeatedly misled and lied to social workers about vitally important aspects of her life, including his mental and physical health, his drinking and his debts,” Readman said. .
“We also now know that relevant information about Laura Castle was not shared between the agencies and that more could have been done to clarify some of the information provided to us.
“Had the full picture of Laura Castle’s life been known, the assessment of her suitability as an adopter would have been better able to take into account vulnerabilities and potential endorsement risks.”
Readman said he accepts that Castle told social workers she was having trouble bonding with the baby.
“The report highlights that more should have been put in place to support the family,” he said. “We recognize this and have since made changes to the way we work.” He added: “I am absolutely determined to do everything we can to prevent something like this from happening again, here or anywhere else.”
Sarah O’Brien, chief nurse for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said the circumstances of Leiland-James’ death will stick with them for a long time.
“Ensuring that professionals openly and proactively share information throughout the adoption process is essential, and it saddens and disappoints us that the review has highlighted a number of gaps where this needs to be addressed. improved,” O’Brien said.
“The lack of robust information sharing continues to feature in child death reviews nationwide and for Leiland-James, information sharing was not good enough throughout critical stages of the process. of adoption. Steps have already been taken locally to address this issue and a recommendation to change national guidelines has also been made.