Hertfordshire County Council has been given permission to withdraw care proceedings after medical evidence proved inconclusive.
In the recently published case of Hertfordshire County Council v H, the authority had begun the proceedings after a six-month old baby suffered two serious injuries which social workers believed could have been inflicted deliberately.
The child’s mother suffered from depression and other mental health difficulties.
She had had a history of suicide attempts – on one occasion attempting to kill herself when her baby was just two days old.
However, it could not be conclusively established that the baby’s injuries had been inflicted deliberately, and the local authority admitted that without firm findings, the mother’s mental health difficulties were not sufficient to justify taking the baby into care. It therefore applied for permission to withdraw the proceedings, although the child’s legal guardian was reluctant to support the move.
In a Family Division hearing, Mrs Justice Parker agreed that the local authority would not be able to establish the necessary legal criteria for care proceedings and granted permission for them to be withdrawn.