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Doncaster child deaths spark probe

A probe will be launched into children's services in Doncaster after the deaths of seven children.

Ministers are sending in a "diagnostic team" to the South Yorkshire local authority, whose children's department was recently slammed by inspectors.

Serious case reviews have been ordered into the seven deaths. The findings of three have already been made public and involved toddlers aged less than one year old who were abused or neglected before they died.

It was found there were a series of missed opportunities for social workers to intervene before the three deaths.

Last month the education watchdog Ofsted rated Doncaster's children's services as "inadequate".

Children's Minister Beverley Hughes has written to Doncaster Council, saying: "I was very concerned to see that inspectors have raised a number of very serious issues about services for children and young people in Doncaster."

She added: "It is crucial that the root causes of these failings are fully explored and that the capacity and capability of the Council and its key partners to drive improvement in these areas is fully assessed.

"I have therefore instructed my officials to commission a thorough diagnostic review to evaluate the current position of the council's provision of children's services."

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