A High Court judge has criticised social workers for the way they treated a father fighting to prevent his child’s adoption.
At the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Ms Justice Russell called the “unprofessional attempts” by workers at Brighton and Hove City Council to build a case against the father “reprehensible”.
She said that their reliance on a parenting assessment which was “clearly out of date” called into question “the validity and substance of any view expressed by the social workers”. The assessment, which the judge said could “only be described as psychobabble”, claimed that the father of four was unable to care for his children because he could not deal with his own past abuse.
These criticisms came during a hearing to determine if the man’s two year-old daughter should be returned to his care to be with her three siblings or if she should be adopted. In 2013, a placement order was made following concerns about the father’s ability to look after four children. Their mother had already been ruled out as a full-time carer as she suffered from mental health problems.
The girl was subsequently placed with another family for 16 months before the Court of Appeal overturned the order.
Ms Justice Russell said that the concerns about the father’s ability to cope were “not supported by any evidence from the school or the observations of independent observers” and seemed to ignore the fact that he had been “successfully parenting three children on his own”.
The judge ruled that the child should be returned to the care of her father. As a result of the social workers’ behaviour throughout the proceedings, “there can be little wonder if the father finds it hard to trust the local authority and work with them from time to time”, she added.
To read Re W (Adoption- Reunification), click here.