Judge praises social worker in care case

Children|October 19th 2016

A family court judge has praised the efforts of a social worker to help the children of a troubled family.

The case concerned four children. Following a lengthy history of involvement by social workers, all four children had been taken into interim care. The parents then applied for the return of the youngest three, although they agreed to the oldest being sent to a children’s home.

The council opposed the parent’s application., insisting that the parents had shown little insight into their children’s needs. Two of the four had been violent to their siblings and parents, as well as to others.

At the Family Court in Swindon, Her Honour Judge Hess accepted the council’s claims, lauding one social worker for spending “many hours of her time” over the last year on the case and providing “reliable and persuasive” evidence in court.

“I am satisfied that she has not in any way prejudged them and that she has given proper and full attention to the case.”

The three youngsters should not be sent back to their parents, the Judge declared. The mother was a “loving and caring person” but had physical and mental problem resulting from an accident as a child. The father, meanwhile, was an “unreliable witness” in court.

Under cross examination, the parents had displayed little apparent concern about serious incidents involving their children, including violence towards teachers and exclusions from school.

In Judge Hess’ words:

“I was struck by their neutral absence of concern as to what had happened or interest in doing anything to sort it out, despite the various serious significance of these events.”

This lack of response indicated parents who would be unable to provide proper care or boundaries for their children, she believed, and there was nothing to indicate they had changed since they been taken into care.

All three children had reportedly shown marked improvements in attitude and behaviour since then. Sending them back to their parents would place them at “serious risk of regression”.

Instead they would remain in foster care, with visits from their parents seven times a year.

Read the ruling here.

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