I believe that Re A, B and C (Children) 2014 is the first judgment to be published and made available online despite not having any significance or importance in and of itself. It is not a precedent for anything, it does not raise any unusual or interesting areas of law, nobody is likely to ever cite it in a skeleton argument or a legal article. But it seems to me to be the first, so it has some degree of novelty and importance despite itself. [I could be wrong, it might just be the first one that has flitted over my radar, but I have been keeping an eye out]
It is a fairly short judgment, the case moved at the Issues Resolution Hearing (the hearing that the Court has once all of the evidence is in, to see if the case can be agreed or whether a full-blown final hearing is needed) from a dispute between the LA and parents on the one hand (who were saying the children should stay at home under Supervision Orders) and the Guardian who had reservations as to whether that was safe, to agreement that Supervision Orders were the right orders to make.
It might actually be more interesting for what is NOT said – whilst the name of the LA and the Guardian are up, there is no naming of the social worker (this may not be intentional, it might just be that in such a short judgment, the social worker’s name simply did not come up).
Cases like this, where the parents work to make changes, succeed in doing so, and there’s a good outcome for the family that means the children stay at home and have a happier life than they would have had before the proceedings started, don’t often get reported – the cases that historically get reported are the ones where there’s a big fight – such a big fight that the case is either in the High Court or gets appealed. Maybe it is a good thing to see that there are cases like this, where the hard work a family does to make changes makes a difference.
Happiness writes in white ink on a white page – Henry de Montherlant
Brilliant post Andrew, thanks – shows how the needle can swing the other way too – made my day.
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It is good to read of a case where intervention has led to improvements in the lives of the children and, I hope, of the parents and has enabled the family to remain together. The alternative proposal – removal to different family members – would have meant separation of siblings, which a number of children have told us they found devastating.
They remain, of course in “cramped” accommodation; I wonder how many of us might have become depressed (poverty increases and prolonged depression) with 3 small children in poor housing? Tests of parents are in fact so much related to how well they cope with poverty.
The parents are now showing that they can work with professionals. I suspect that had they gone to France, like some of our clients, they would have had no problems from the beginning. These families have found French social workers genuinely supportive, helpful, and knowledgeable. They have no problem in working with them, and indeed welcome their visits. Moreover the observations of parents’ behaviour with their children were seen by parents as accurate, unlike reports we have seen of meetings at which one of us was present. No wonder trust quickly followed.
Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services
What worries me about this is the intolerance of social workers.
Who are they to say an upbringing is the right way, just because it’s their way it doesn’t make it right for that child/family.
I know of some diverse families who have had their children removed because of their ‘hippy’ lifestyle, mum may be a lady of the night, another has an OCD, the next has dogs, too overweight, too thin, smoke, and yes I’ve even dealt with a case where it was used as a negative that the parent did not smoke, sleep around or do drugs.
I am aware there are obvious lifestyles that are damaging to (some) children, such as alcoholism, drug taking etc, and I would agree that sometimes the social worker is right to intervene when the child is being neglected for those things, but lifestyle choice is not, under any circumstance a reason to remove a child
Many many generations have grown into happy, well rounded adults despite their parents arguing, being drinkers or drug users, the whole thing is all about control and raising a generation of robots who will conform to society’s expectations
A great example of this is when parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they are referred to ss and the child is removed, – by law it is the choice of the parents but the sw’s dictate this, they are out of jurisdiction and out of control
Yet children like BabyP, Victoria Climbie, Daniel Peltzer are just left to die