Two young children must be returned to their mother’s care, a Family Court judge has ruled.
The children’s father had taken them away from their mother after he found marks on his daughter one of which doctors said was “consistent with a cigarette burn”, although it later emerged that it was not. The father placed the two with a former partner of his, ‘S’, but later said he did not want her to look after them after all. However, when he challenged her in court, the judge ruled in S’s favour and the children were made subjects of a child arrangements order which said they should stay with her.
After this decision, the mother applied to the Family Court in Reading to have the children returned to her. At the hearing, Judge Moradifar said any decision about where the children should live must be “made in accordance with the principles that are set out in … The Children Act”. Section 1 (3) of this Act dictates which considerations should be given priority when dealing with a child. These include their “age, sex, background … physical, emotional and educational needs” and the ability of their parents to meet those.
Using this as a guide, Judge Moradifar ruled that the children should live with their mother. A prior report by social workers which assessed her ability as a parent had been “wholly inadequate”, he said, as it had been based on the assumption that the mother had caused the injuries to her daughter. This assertion had been “proven to be entirely inaccurate”, he declared, therefore the assessment had “proved to be wrong” overall.
The Judge therefore ordered the immediate return of the two children to their mother’s care.
Read Slough Children’s Services Trust v J & A here.
Photo of Reading by Uli Harder via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.