This week's Carmarthenshire Herald carries a two page exposé of one of the most shocking cases to involve social services in the county in recent years. It has been covered in some detail on this blog and by Caebrwyn before, but the Herald has managed to explain this highly complex and long-running case clearly and succinctly, and it has taken the time to go beyond the dry official reports and speak to some of those involved.
The result is that for the first time the human cost of the case is clear for all to see.
In summary, a couple living in Carmarthenshire had their severely disabled daughter taken away from them without warning after accusations were made by an agency care worker that she was being sold into prostitution.
This extremely malicious accusation triggered a course of events which turned the family's life into a nightmare, and years later the council is still dragging its feet on implementing a settlement which was agreed out of court.
From reading the reports, it is clear that the parents accepted and understood that the council had to act and respond to the accusations, but what followed was a catalogue of blunders and inexplicable delays in returning the young woman to her home even after the police had concluded that the accusations were without foundation.
Why social services managers acted in the way they did and why they prolonged the agony has never been satisfactorily explained. Neither is it known whether anyone faced disciplinary proceedings or any form of sanction for the harm inflicted.
It is also not clear whether the care workers who triggered this horror story are still employed in that capacity.
There are clearly important lessons to be learned from this, and an investigation is needed. It will come as no surprise to learn that the usual suspects have so far managed to block scrutiny and discussion of the case by councillors.
Some senior councillors, particularly Cllr Jane Tremlett who holds the social services portfolio on the Executive Board, should have been aware of what happened and also that the council has so far taken four years to implement the settlement.
Why has she not intervened? If she was not aware, why not?
Let us hope that the new administration acts swiftly in this case and sends a clear signal that cover-ups, denials and complete indifference to the suffering of real people are no longer acceptable.