THERE are people whose sheer inadequacy means they are unfit to be in charge of an animal’s welfare, let alone that of a child.

Today we publish photographs of the bedroom occupied by two young children.

On the basis of the sheer filth and squalor in evidence, it seems to us that their mother - and father - are among those inadequates.

The relevant authorities have decided otherwise. They have returned the children to the mother whose neglect is recorded in images every bit as disturbing as those taken in shuttered Eastern European orphanages during the months following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It is only to be hoped that the authorities’ faith in the mother is not paid for by her innocent children in sorrow, pain or worse.

The mother, it is worth remembering, has suffered some dreadful traumas of her own. However, this does not alter the fact that the welfare and safety of the infants must be the only priority in this case.

The mother’s every move should be monitored for the foreseeable future.

There will be those who wonder how such an appalling situation could have been allowed to develop over such a period of time. They will ask why no case workers became aware sooner, why the children could not have been rescued earlier.

The answer, we suspect, is that the departments tasked with looking after our must vulnerable people have been subjected to such savage cuts that individual staff’s caseloads have doubled or trebled.

Those who imposed the cuts we say: “You did this. You did this to these children and your shame will never be expunged.