The Family Court has removed three children from the care of their parents amid concerns from the local authority about negligence and abuse.
In Re B (Care Order), Lincolnshire County Council applied for care and placement orders which would put the children into long-term foster care.
Care and placement orders would give the council responsibility for the children’s care and give them the authority to place the children with prospective adopters.
The council made their application shortly after an incident in November of 2013 when one of the children sustained bruising to his hip and marks on his neck.
Evidence gathered from the child’s statements, other witness testimonies and a consulting doctor pointed to the injuries being inflicted by his parents.
The child’s mother had smacked him with a slipper, the court heard, before grabbing him by the neck. The father then smacked him very hard with his hand.
Despite admitting to hitting the children and occasional marijuana use, the parents were “confident that their parenting abilities were good” but were quick to identify behavioural issues with their children, such as “attention seeking”, “sibling rivalries” and “lying”.
The local authority submitted that due to “the parents’ continuing lack of insight into the deficits in their parenting and their lack of honesty” they could not recommend that the parents continue to care for their children as there was a “serious risk of physical and emotional abuse”.
His Honour Judge Swindells said that, given the evidence, he was “satisfied to the requisite standard that the children were subjected to a punitive regime of unreasonable chastisement”.
He noted that despite some improvement shown by the parents, they still exhibited some negative behaviour, such as blaming the children and calling them liars when faced with tough questions.
“In my judgment, they, sadly remain blinkered in their view of themselves as the perfect parents … The clearest evidence of this is their continued, blinkered denial as to the extent of their use of unreasonable chastisement.”
The judge also noted that this was not the first time the parents had been in trouble of this kind. The mother was convicted of child cruelty and neglect in 1995.
The mother’s criminal conviction stemmed from an incident involving the children’s older sibling who suffered multiple bruises at the mother’s hands.
Judge Swindells concluded by saying he did not believe there was any possibility that the parents may eventually understand their shortcomings and guarantee a safe environment for their children, so he granted the Local Authority their application for a care order.
Photo of Lincoln by Brian via Flickr