HOW a mother was allowed to keep two young children living in squalid conditions at her home in Barry could be examined, amid calls for a "thorough investigation".

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to two years in prison at Cardiff Crown Court on March 9, after pleading guilty to two counts of child cruelty.

It has been reported that authorities were first alerted to the woman's home after neighbours reported concerns to the RSPCA over the wellbeing of her cats.

Once inside, police and social services found the woman's two children living in appalling conditions, with excrement smeared across walls, bowls filled with maggots, blocked toilets and rubbish littered across the home.

South Wales Central AM, Andrew RT Davies, has called for "meaningful action" in response to the episode, saying it was "heart-breaking" to hear about the conditions the children were left in.

Mr Davies said: "It's clear that there has been a complete breakdown in safeguards for child safety, and that failure is as much a reflection on social services as it is on the school.

"Those involved in this case need to take a long hard look in the mirror, and there needs to be an honest discussion about whether they're fit for purpose.

"It is totally unacceptable, and frankly heart-breaking that children have to endure neglect of this kind.

"We need meaningful action from the agencies responsible for child protection, including a thorough investigation, so that we can ensure that this never happens again."

The Welsh Government have said that a Child Practice Review into how the children were allowed to live in such appalling conditions could now take place.

Child Practice Reviews are held when a child or children are either killed or seriously harmed as a result of abuse, with the intention being to help prevent such circumstances arising in the future.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: "Everyone in society has a responsibility to protect and safeguard children and adults from abuse and neglect.

"In 2016, a new law was introduced in Wales – the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act – which strengthens existing safeguarding arrangements for children by placing on relevant partners, such as the NHS, police, probation and youth offending teams, a duty to report where they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is at risk.

"Cardiff and the Vale Safeguarding Board will now consider whether this case should be the subject of a Child Practice Review in line with statutory guidance."

A spokesman for The Vale of Glamorgan Council said they had acted promptly when made aware of concerns regarding the children's wellbeing, and would do what was necessary to help protect vulnerable youngsters.

"The Vale of Glamorgan Council takes its safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously and where necessary we will use the full extent of our powers to protect children living in the area," he said.

"As soon as information was received in respect of these children, swift and appropriate action was taken."