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Learning disabilities – an interesting and sad judgment

This judgment is not binding upon anyone not directly involved in the case, being a decision of a Circuit Judge, His Honour Judge Dancey.

But I think that it provides a very accessible summary of the guidance on working with parents with learning disabilities and also it contains within in a judgment that is written directly for the parents, which I’ll set out below.

The central issues in the case were – were the assessments fair and did they properly take account of the guidance AND if the parents needed X hours of services a day (in this case said to be 12-16 hours per day) ought they be given that to keep the family together or is that an unrealistic expectation?
A Local Authority v G (Parent with Learning Disability) (Rev 1) [2017] EWFC B94
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2017/B94.html

Speaking as a Local Authority lawyer, cases involving learning disabilities are the very hardest cases to deal with – you are dealing with parents who have absolutely no intention to harm or mistreat a child and are doing their absolute best – usually by the end of the case the parent could have done nothing more to show the Court their love and desire to parent. Yet so often they have unhappy endings, often this being more common than cases where parents have behaved selfishly, foolishly or abusively but have the ability and wherewithal to stop doing that. It feels like there should be something for these parents, who have done nothing wrong other than to demonstrate that they have limitations outside of their control. I don’t know what that something should be, and I have no idea what that something would cost, (as my friend Becca Carr-Hopkins is fond of saying to me “and what would that LOOK like?”) but they are the very worst hearings to do.

I would rather have four awful paedophile cases than a case where the parents have tried their best but their best is not enough because of the disability they were born with. People who have already had a difficult hand dealt to them in life, who have to be told that although they are not bad people and have all the love in the world the State is about to make their painful and difficult life still more painful and difficult. I wish central Government would make funding available so that there could be something to properly support parents of this kind.

Anyway, I’ll start with the portion of the judgment written directly for the parents – I have praised Jackson LJ in the past for doing this and it is nice to see his lead being followed

ANNEX A

1.C and D have two children, K aged just 3 years and T aged nearly 20 months. C also has an older child A whose father died when she was 3.

2.The local authority say that C and D cannot look after the children well enough.

3.Sadly C has a learning disability and is partly deaf. This means that she struggles to look after the children. D doesn’t have a disability. He is C’s carer. He has not really supported C to look after the children as he should have done.

4.A has already gone to live with Mr and Mrs N. They are now her special guardians. A is happy there and wants to stay. C and D accept that. They are not asking for A to come home.

5.The local authority ask me to make orders putting K and T in their care. They also ask to be allowed to place K and T for adoption. That would mean ending K and T’s ties and contact with C and D completely. They would become members of a new family.

6.C and D don’t agree. They say they could look after K and T if they were supported properly.

7.I accept that C and D couldn’t look after the children as well as they should. I am not going to write down here everything I have heard about. But K and T have not been looked after properly. C and D did not watch out for K and T well enough. Also they did not have good routines. Sometimes they were dirty and missed out on meals. But also C and D found it difficult to get in tune with K and T’s emotional needs. Sometimes they didn’t pay them much attention. K got frustrated. She banged her head and bit people. T didn’t cry much or demand much attention. This was because he wasn’t getting much attention.

8.A had to look after K and T more than she should have. It was like she became a parent to them. She also worried about C. These were things a child shouldn’t have to worry about. A thinks she has lost out on some of her childhood.

9.I know that C and D looked after A well enough. But I think she had to start looking after herself when K and T came along. C and D cannot look after two very young children. They have different needs which C and D struggle with.

10.The local authority tried to help C and D with support. C and D didn’t think all the support was of the right kind. I agree the local authority could have done this better. The people who worked with C and D needed more training about learning disability. D could have done with more help as C’s carer. He could have helped himself more too.

11.C and D both had depression. I think that was a lot to do with the stress of trying to look after three children. Their depression has got better since they have not had the children. They have made some improvements too. The flat looks very nice now. It used to be cluttered and wasn’t very clean.

12.The problem is that C can’t meet the needs of the children on her own. D doesn’t give her the support she needs. I don’t think C or D really understand how worried the local authority are. I know they want to work with people to make things better. But I don’t think C or D can really change things in a lasting way even with support. I think if the children come home things will get worse again. C and D will probably get too stressed. And that might mean they get depressed again.

13.I have decided that the children need care that C and D cannot give them. They would need so much support that other people would end up parenting K and T instead of C and D. K and T would not know who is their main carer. That would probably cause them problems in how they make relationships.

14.So I have decided I cannot let the children come home. It means that I must make an order putting K and T in the care of the local authority. I must also let them place K and T for adoption.

15.It is very sad to have to make this decision. I know how much C and D love their children. They have come to court every day. They have listened carefully and patiently. They have tried their very best to help me. I thank them very much indeed. The children will know that C and D did their very best to keep them.

16.But I have to decide what is best for the children. And I have decided that nothing else will do.

The judgment also provides a very clear and helpful summary of both the law and the practical guidance, and I think it is a really good source for this

Parents with learning disability/Parenting with support
35.Where a parent has a learning disability the court must make sure that parent is not being disadvantaged simply because of their disability. The essential question is whether the parenting that can be offered is good enough if support is provided. In Re D (A Child) (No 3) [2016] EWFC 1 Munby P endorsed and recommended what was said by Gillen J in Re Guardian and A (Care Order: Freeing Order: Parents with a Learning Disability) [2016] NIFam 8. Those cases establish a number of important points relevant in this case:

i) Parents with learning difficulties can often be ‘good enough’ parents when provided with the ongoing emotional and practical support they need.

ii) The concept of ‘parenting with support’ must underpin the way in which courts and professionals approach parents with learning difficulties.

iii) Courts must make sure that parents with learning difficulties are not at risk of having their parental responsibilities terminated on the basis of evidence that would not hold up against parents without such difficulties. To that end parents with learning disability should not be measured against parents without disability and the court should be alive to the risk of direct and indirect discrimination.

iv) Multi-agency working is critical if parents are to be supported effectively and the court has a duty to make sure that has been done effectively.

v) The court should not focus so narrowly on the child’s welfare that the needs of the parent arising from their disability, and impacting on their parenting capacity, are ignored.

vi) Courts should be careful to ensure that the supposed inability of the parents to change is not itself an artefact of professionals’ ineffectiveness in engaging with the parents in an appropriate way.
36.Ms Harman says there are some features of this case that distinguish it favourably from Re D – (a) these parents cared for A for some years without concerns about her care (so there is a history of childcare that did not exist in Re D) (b) there have been no concerns about the children’s development and they have met milestones and (c) these parents are keen to accept advice and support.

37.Ms Harman also refers me to Kent County Council v A Mother [2011] EWHC 402 recognising (a) that parents with learning disability need to be supported and enabled to lead their lives as full members of the community, free from discrimination and prejudice, (b) a wider acceptance that people with learning disability may in many cases, with assistance, be able to bring up children successfully, (c) the need for professionals working with families and children to be trained to recognise and deal with parents with learning disabilities and (d) the need for Government Guidance to be followed.

Good practice guidance on working with parents with a learning disability (updated September 2016) DoH/DfES
38.The Good Practice Guidance was issued to address a lack of evidence of effective joint working between adult and children’s services. I gratefully adopt and adapt the summary of the Guidance set out by Ms Harman in her written submissions:

i) Services need to help enable children live with their parents (as long as this is consistent with their welfare) by providing the support they and their families require. This accords with the general duty of local authorities under section 17(1) of the 1989 Act to provide a range and level of services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need and their upbringing by their families (insofar as it is consistent with their welfare).

ii) Good practice is also underpinned by an approach to parenting and learning disability which addresses needs relating to both impairment and the disabling barriers of unequal access and negative attitudes. Such an approach recognises that:

… If the problem is seen as entirely related to impairment and personal limitations, it is difficult to understand how to bring about positive changes for parents and their children.

… If the focus is, instead, on things that can be changed (such as inadequate housing) and support needs that can be met (such as equipment to help a parent measure baby feeds), there are many more possibilities for bringing about positive improvements. [p4]

iii) There are five key features of good practice in working with parents with learning disabilities: [pii]


• accessible information and communication

• clear and co-ordinated referral and assessment procedures and processes, eligibility criteria and care pathways

• support designed to meet the needs of parents and children based on assessments of their needs and strengths

• long-term support where necessary

• access to independent advocacy

iv) Adult and children’s services, and health and social care, should jointly agree local protocols for referrals, assessments and care pathways in order to respond appropriately and promptly to the needs of both parents and children. [1.2.1, p8].

v) It is important that services understand who is to take the lead on assessments:

• where there are no welfare concerns but adults need assistance with routine tasks of looking after children, adult learning disability services should take the lead on assessment and care planning

• where parents need support in the medium to long term adult learning disability and children’s services jointly co-ordinate assessment and care planning

• where intervention is required to prevent children suffering impairment to their health or development or significant harm, children’s services lead assessment and planning with specialised input from adult learning disability services (1.2.5 p12).

vi) Services in contact with parents with learning disabilities should use appropriate assessment materials and resources and/or access specialist expertise. Failing to do so will result in the parent receiving an unfair and therefore invalid assessment, in breach of their legal rights. [1.2.6, p13].

vii) Where a parent has a learning disability it will be important not to make assumptions about their parental capacity. Having a learning disability does not mean that a person cannot learn new skills. [p13].

viii) In the case of parent support services, an assessment of a parent’s learning needs and circumstances should inform the support provided to develop parenting skills. Research indicates that – for parents with learning disabilities – the key elements of successful parenting skills support are:

… clear communication, and ensuring parents have understood what they are told

… use of role-play, modelling, and videoing parent and professional undertaking a task together, for discussion, comparison and reflection

… step by step pictures showing how to undertake a task

… repeating topics regularly and offering opportunities for frequent practice

… providing/developing personalised “props”: for example, finding a container which will hold the right amount of milk for the child so that the parent does not have to measure out the milk. [p16]

ix) A range of services is required. All families are different and at different stages of their life cycle families require different types of support. [1.3.3, p16]

x) A need for long-term support does not mean that parents cannot look after their children. [1.4.1, p20]

xi) Although a parent with learning disabilities can learn how to do things, their cognitive impairment will not go away. Just as someone with a physical impairment may need personal assistance for the rest of their life so a person with learning disabilities may need assistance with daily living, particularly as new situations arise. Secondly, children and their needs change. A parent may have learned to look after a baby and young child and be coping well. However, as the child enters adolescence other support needs may arise. [p21]

xii) Where a need for long-term support with parenting tasks is identified, it should form part of the community care and/or child in need plan. [1.4.2, p21]

xiii) Advocacy and self-advocacy should be made available to help parents access and engage with services. The Care Act 2014 imposes a duty on local authorities to provide an independent advocate where an individual would otherwise have substantial difficulties in being involved in processes such as their own assessment and care planning. [p22]

xiv) The Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty on local authorities to make reasonable adjustments so as to eliminate discrimination and to advadvance equality of opportunity; the provision of an independent advocate may assist with this. The Human Rights Act 1998 entitles a parent to participate fully in the process; this includes stages prior to any formal legal proceedings being initiated. [p22]

xv) It is particularly important to avoid the situation where poor standards of parental care, which do not, however, meet the threshold of being of significant harm to a child, subsequently deteriorate because of a lack of support provided to the parent. A failure to provide support in this type of situation can undermine a parent’s rights to a private and family life, and may also contravene an authority’s disability equality duty. [p25]

xvi) Families affected by parental learning disability are likely to have an on-going need for support. [p27]

xvii) When children are placed in foster care, parents should receive practical support to maximise their chances of improving their parenting capacity. Without this, parents will have little chance of reunification with children who have been removed from their care. [2.2.12, p29]

xviii) Both children’s and adult workers will need specific training in order to respond appropriately to the needs of families affected by parental learning disability. Child protection training strategies should include adult learning disability services. [p38]

xix) It is essential that assessments, training and support are both timely and appropriately tailored to the parent with a learning disability. Failure to build in, from the outset, the extra time that a parent with a learning disability needs in order to learn and understand, puts that parent at a significant disadvantage in child protection proceedings, compared to parents without a learning disability. [piii]

xx) There must also be joint working across all the agencies (in particular adult and children’s services) and appropriate and effective communication permitting parents to participate fully in the process. [piii]

Turning now to the case in question, the Judge did uphold several of the criticisms made by the parents of the assessments and support

Discussion and conclusion
215.There is in my judgement considerable force in the criticisms made by Ms Harman of the assessments of the parents and the support given to them. In particular:

◦the local authority does not have, as it should, a protocol for dealing with parents with learning disability (or not one that the professionals were able to tell me about, which amounts to the same thing) and that reflects in the approach in this case;

◦a protocol would focus on the Guidance which has not always been followed in this case – and to describe the Guidance as a ‘counsel of perfection’ is to give a charter to ignore it which should be robustly challenged;

◦those working with the mother should have been trained in dealing with parents with learning disability which would have given them better direct understanding during assessment and teaching how best to work with her and how to deliver the right support;

◦I do not consider it necessary to have had somebody from the ALDT present at every session; what was required was sufficient training of those that were there (and not just reliance on their experience of dealing with people with learning disability);

◦there has not been enough focus in this case on planned support and a positive strategy to try and keep this family together:

◦rather LW’s focus (see paragraph 193(h)(v) above) was on a solution for the children within their timescales rather than supporting the parents – the two are not necessarily inconsistent if support is provided in a timely and efficient manner;

◦in fact there were unacceptable delays in carrying out assessments and establishing what support was needed, creating a conflict with the children’s timescales;

◦JT said that the parents had not put forward proposals as to the actual support the various agencies could offer – this ignores that it is the local authority which should be making an assessment of the support that can be offered and that should include what is available from outside agencies as well as inhouse support;

◦there could and should have been more focus on repetitive teaching using role-modelling and example as recommended by Dr K (I accept the health visitor used these techniques but there was little hard evidence of it in the FAST work);

◦a more co-ordinated response to the father’s evident need as a carer of the mother should have been put into effect earlier with a support package rather than leaving him to his own devices;

◦work with the parents should have continued after the children were removed not least to assess whether they were making necessary changes;

◦it was unfortunate that, as in many cases, these parents have had to deal with a number of different social workers, five in this case – that has an impact both on the need for vulnerable parents to re-build new relationships with professionals before and during stressful proceedings and professionals’ continuity of knowledge and experience of the family.

216.Having accepted those criticisms I also accept the following points:

◦all the professionals did their best;

◦the Guidance was followed to the extent that Children’s Services took the lead and consulted with the ALDT as the specialist service;

◦the FAST workers and social workers sought to follow the advice given by the ALDT about how best to work with the mother;

◦the materials they used – picture books and charts – were not in themselves inappropriate, particularly given the presence in the home of the father and his supposed ability to support the mother – it is just that more was needed by way of direct example and repetition;

◦lots of support has in fact been given to the family as set out by Mr Howard, I just question whether it might have been more structured and planned had the Guidance been followed and a protocol been in place;

217.I do not see that the criticisms are met simply by saying that one of the parents did not have disability. The fact is, as this case shows, that whenever working with a parent with a learning disability, the Guidance should be followed.

There’s only one part of the judgment that I don’t quite agree with, and that’s here

248.I do not read Re D or the Guidance as requiring local authorities to provide support to the extent that it amounts to substitute parenting. If a parent had such a physical disability as to require substitute parenting then I would expect the result to be the same, so I would not accept that this conclusion is discriminatory of parents with learning disability.

The first bit, I think is absolutely right – I don’t think Re D or the Guidance says that a Local Authority has to provide the sort of support that means that really a parent is not providing any real parenting but the parenting is being done by professionals and support agencies with the parents just being present. It is the comparator with physical disabilities I am not sure about.

If a parent had such a physical disability as to require substitute parenting then I would expect the result to be the same, so I would not accept that this conclusion is discriminatory of parents with learning disability

I don’t know. If a parent was blind, and needed another adult in the home to ensure that the child wasn’t putting themselves in harms way, would a Local Authority be issuing care proceedings because the blind parent doesn’t have another adult in the home? Would threshold even be met on that basis? I think it is wrong, repugnant even that there is a two-tier approach between physical disability and learning disability, but I do think that there is one.

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

31 responses

  1. ashamedtobebritish

    How can it be correct to decide ‘nothing else will do’ when the correct support hasn’t been put in place.
    If it had, and failed, then I’d kind of get this, but he’s not exhausted all avenues

    • Because when you read the judgment, you can’t put in 12-16 hours of support every day until child is 18. That’s no longer support with parenting, that’s the child being parented by professionals. If Re D had gone the other way he could have, but he is bound by Re D

      • Trouble is suesspiciousminds, there are travesties occuring all the time in the family courts, with judgments not being honest and reliable. Let’s ask:

        1) is this an assumption that the level of support you state would definitely be required, or is that based on how the parents were doing in the past, whilst suffering depression and before improvements were made?

        2) is this level of support you state based on an independent assessment by someone who both understands the nature of the LD and has developed enough of a relationship with the parents to make an accurate determination?

        3) is this level of support based on a single determination or more than one? After all, if people seek 3 opinions to get their house painted or their roof fixed, you’d expect the very least dedication to deciding the lives of four human beings.

        4) is the level of support leading to a money-based decision? If so, and more than likely let’s face it, that is the biggest injustice of all.

        Through the contact I have had with families I am well aware of social worker perjury in court, a biased system, bought expert opinions, corrupt judges etc. so the judgment is highly likely to be flawed. A judge can also only pass opinion on his understanding of the alleged difficulties, this requires something additional than simply understanding and correctly interpreting the law. The human element and knowing the nature of the disability and the impact of that day to day. ANy so-called expert can come along and say anything. What chance do the parents have against that? When the state wants to take children it will go hell for leather to do so.

        I have personal knowledge of this case http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2015/1053.html and I know that a grave injustice was done against an autistic mother and her child. There are cases like this happening all the time. Don’t believe everything you read in judgments.

        “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
        ~ Mahatma Ghandi

        And let’s face it, our reputation is the pits. Great Britain we are not.

      • The parents were fiercely represented in this case, so I’m sure those issues were explored

      • ashamedtobebritish

        The other problem I have is that one child lashes out, therefore they are neglected, the other child is the polar opposite and quiet, therefore they are neglected – these parents couldn’t win could they

  2. Appalled at the continuing discrimination against parents with autism or LDs.

    In the words of Judge Jack in North East Lincolnshire Council v G & L [2014] EWFC B192:

    “…the courts are not in the business of social engineering. The courts are not in the business of providing children with perfect homes.”

    Or those of Baroness Hale of Richmond JSC (para 143):

    “We are all frail human beings, with our fair share of unattractive character traits, which
    sometimes manifest themselves in bad behaviours which may be copied by our children.
    But the State does not and cannot take away the children of all the people who commit crimes, who abuse alcohol or drugs, who suffer from physical or mental illnesses or disabilities, or who espouse antisocial political or religious beliefs.”

    Or Hedley J in Re L (Care: Threshold Criteria) [2007] 1 FLR 2050, para 50:

    “Society must be willing to tolerate very diverse standards of parenting, including the eccentric, the barely adequate and the inconsistent. Children will inevitable have both very different experiences of parenting and very unequal consequences flowing from it. It means that some children will experience disadvantage and harm, while others flourish in atmospheres of loving security and emotional stability. These are the consequences of our fallible humanity and it is not the provenance of the State to spare children all the consequences of defective parenting.”

    Fine words eh. But entirely hollow clearly.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190544/00374-
    2009DOM-EN.pdf

    “2.21 Where a parent is disabled it is important that they are receiving support to meet their
    own needs, and are supported in their parenting role so that they are able to fulfil their
    responsibilities. Information is available on working with parents with a learning disability in
    Good practice guidance on working with parents with a learning disability (DoH and DfES, 2007) (available to download from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20090217020108/http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_075119). LSCBs should work collaboratively with adult services to ensure that children are not put at risk of harm because of a lack of support to their parents.”

    Another judge with a crystal ball:

    “I think if the children come home things will get worse again. C and D will probably get too stressed. And that might mean they get depressed again.”

    What happened to parents having made improvements? Clearly once the state has made it’s mind up, no improvements will be good enough.

    “Their depression has got better since they have not had the children. They have made some improvements too. The flat looks very nice now. It used to be cluttered and wasn’t very clean.”

    Clearly when people are depressed they let some things go. With the depression gone, the RIGHT support in place, and with there being one less child to care for with Child A staying with guardians, there was no reason why the courts could not allow the parents a chance. Removing children is supposedly for “when nothing else will do” and clearly plenty else could have done here.

    What also appalls, is the blatant assumptions on top of the crystal ball approach.

    “K got frustrated. She banged her head and bit people. T didn’t cry much or demand much attention. This was because he wasn’t getting much attention.”

    What a shocker. It is highly likely that the children could have either ASD or LD with at least one parent having LD and both being prone to depression, there are heritable conditions. This alone could account for the children’s behaviour. But simpler for the courts to jump to conclusions eh.

    The human rights breaches that are currently going on in this corrupt child protection and family courts system will one day be something that no apology is enough for when they finally admit it, no amount of shame could cover it. Hopefully that day is coming very soon.

    What a disgusting indictment of the UK that it contnues to commit gross disability discrimination, breaches of human rights and lifelong emotional harm and trauma to both parents AND CHILDREN in their vile actions.

    What’s next? I’ll tell you. The children will continue to display difficult behaviour with their ‘replacement parents’ and they will be told it’s due to neglect/abuse and it’s attachment disorder and they will believe it unquestioningly. When they take the children to CAMHS they will be clueless as they usually are, but CAMHS will be further disadvantaged by the fact that the trauma cannot be undone and the children may also have LD or ASD and this will be undiagnosed because CAMHS will stick to the mantra of attachment disorder. Even if the children do have attachment disorder, it will be caused by them being ripped away from their parents. So nobody wins. Except perhaps the ex-social worker managed adoption agencies, the practicing social workers getting back-handers from the ex-social worker colleagues at the agencies and the system of highly paid judges, lawyers et al. This is the future folks. A generation of dysfunctional adults moulded by a corrupt system.

    “Autistic Women as Mothers – The Lies and the Truth” http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/58c8f1_02b49a09bb004592be2de26e45522dfd.pdf
    “Discrimination Against Autism Families” http://evolutian.wixsite.com/planetautism/discrimination-against-autism-families

    • ashamedtobebritish

      It’s not just the vulnerable PA.
      I witnessed a sw change the name of a perpetrator who had put a baby in a very dangerous situation to the name of the father, who she did not like, to suit her agenda, this led to the baby and subsequent children to this day, being handed into the care of the perpetrator and the innocent father never seeing his child again!
      When I reported it, it was put down as a mistake and ignored … lots of mistakes like this went on and still do

      Back to this case. Another part of the judgement I struggle with, (may be the way I’m reading it) is the local authority claiming that the parents had started to clean and tidy once the children were out of their care, it doesn’t come across as a positive, that they’d pulled their socks up, it reads (to me) that they can ‘only’ keep the place nice without children in it. Again that to me shows they weren’t looking for improvement, they were looking to manipulate the situation in order to remove the children

      • Absolutely. In fact, you left out the “quotes” when you used the term “mistakes”, as whilst mistakes also do occur, sadly there is a lot of dishonesty and deliberate abuse of power also.

        And again, precisely. How can it be ruled upon without having been tested. None of it adds up.

  3. “suesspiciousminds | January 15, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    The parents were fiercely represented in this case, so I’m sure those issues were explored”

    Knowing what I know, I highly doubt that somehow…

  4. If a child has come to no harm; no serious injuries or illnesses whilst In the handicapped parents’ care then that child should be allowed to stay with those parents (or that parent)rather than being handed over to complete strangers.

    • Exactly, Ian. Trouble is what is defined as harm these days has become ridiculous. Risk of not being a perfect parent seems to be enough. You may have seen this:

      “Social workers ‘sex up abuse claims to snatch children for adoption’

      SOCIAL workers are regularly “sexing up” dossiers on problem parents to remove children into care and even to farm them out for adoption, a whistleblower (works for a large authority in the south of England) reveals today.” (2011)​

      https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/289232/Social-workers-sex-up-abuse-claims-to-snatch-children-for-adoption

      “The experienced social worker told a Sunday Express investigation that council managers are frequently putting pressure on him and colleagues to rewrite reports considered “too positive”.​

      They are demanding “more dirt” on mothers and fathers to increase the chances of securing court orders that place their children into care and which boost councils’ Ofsted ratings.

      When asked for an example, he said: “In order to get a child through to a child protection conference, we’re told to make the situation look bad and worse than it actually is.”

      “The whistleblower also raised serious concerns about council-appointed psychologists who he believes are biased in favour of their paymasters.

      In particular, he said he had doubts over what he said were nebulous concepts of emotional abuse and “attachment theories”.​

      He said: “These psychologists create such a high standard for parenting that most of us would fail.”

      The definition of “harm” has become so nebulous that any ordinary parent could be plucked off the street and be targeted. Oh wait, they already are.

  5. “ashamedtobebritish | January 15, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    The other problem I have is that one child lashes out, therefore they are neglected, the other child is the polar opposite and quiet, therefore they are neglected – these parents couldn’t win could they”

    They were never meant to, ashamedtobebritish. It was a done deal as soon as social services clapped eyes on the little toddlers, conveniently failed to provide the support they are legally obliged to, which in turn was conveniently explained away by the judge. Eminently adoptable age these children, sure to satisfy the selfish desires of an adoptive couple who left it too late or didn’t want the stretch marks and who are all too ready to believe the lies of the social workers. You only have to look at the BBC2 “Annie: Out of the Ashes” documentary that was on this week. Social workers told her that her gypsy mother tried to kill her by setting her on fire when she was a young child. She was taken and adopted out of course. She lived until her twenties believing this. Until she found out through her own research that it was untrue, the caravan she was in with her grandmother at the time caught fire accidentally, as over 2,000 caravans a year did in those days. So social services emotionally harm innocent children, to feed their child trafficking industry. Vulnerable groups are targeted deliberately. There is a name for these people.

  6. I hope I will not attract a Twitter style storm of abuse for saying this but there is an elephant in this room, and that is, should learning disabled people have children at all?
    Low intelligence seems to be more clearly heritable than high, but should the child of a learning disabled parent be of normal intelligence, as A in this particular case was, inevitably at about age 5-6 they are going to outstrip the parent and either the roles will reverse or the youngster run feral.
    Over the years I have seen a number of cases, one or two reported in the Court of Protection but mainly reported as news, when a middle class mother, who has basically lost her marriage and other children to care for a learning disabled daughter (who happens, I would guess, to be normally attractive), wants her daughter sterilised, usually supported by the GP. There is always talk of safeguarding, but the reality, outside of the Left liberal bubble, is that the poor woman does not want to find herself caring for a learning disabled grandchild.
    Of course learning disabled people should be encouraged and supported in leading as full a life as is possible for them, but the assumption should always be that that life will exclude reproduction.

    • I think that’s almost where we are reaching by the back door. If the facts are that a learning disabled parent will need more support than an austerity starved LA can provide, we are getting into eugenics territory. And sadly almost all supported accommodation for LD adults won’t accept children, so a parent will often have less support once they have the baby.

      • But again, dreadful as it sounds, if you are in your fifties and have raised a learning disabled child, do you really want to start again and care for a learning disabled grandchild? Quite probably the one thing a responsible parent of a learning disabled adult does not want for them is a baby.

      • ashamedtobebritish

        I am the mother of an autistic adult, I fought the local authority hard for his child who has behavioural problems, I do not know if they are genetic or environmental (I suspect the latter), however, my son is functional, fully able to work and provide, is a great dad with lots of love to give, even if a little immature.

        The local authority hated him for not fitting into their NWO ideology, therefore alienated him from a child who loves her daddy very much. Result – two very unhappy people who will probably never see each other again, the child being left to be abused within the maternal family because like the poster, the LA would prefer him out of the gene pool!
        She’ll probably grow up to be some feral kid with a baby by the time she’s 14 because there is no other guidance or train of thought in her life due to the removal of the ASD father!

        I read that comment early hours of this morning but did not reply as it made me feel physically sick.
        Would I take her and raise her? (I’m 50) IN A HEARTBEAT!

    • @cadburycat Your eugenecist comments staggers me. I literally can’t believe you said it.

      Therefore I shall simply limit my reply to highlight the fact that LDs are a *spectrum* and can simply mean someone is a little bit slow to learn things, what a ridiculous premise upon which to base removing children therefore ~ even were your comment not well beyond the bounds of acceptability. In this case, only ONE of the parents had an LD and the father’s lack of support for the mother was clearly as he was depressed at the time. Since his depression cleared up and with the correct type of support for his wife, there is no reason for these children to have been taken.

      And yes, your comment will on Twitter so look out, you may be in for a storm.

    • This is an emotive subject and you are very brave to raise it! I too recognise the ethical dilemmas for conscientious parents with a learning disabled child, particularly if they believe that anyone who has a baby is responsible for parenting the child properly. In many situations in which a mother is seen to be struggling it sometimes happens that a member of the extended family steps in and supports her, or even takes over the care of the child. In a similar way an informal arrangement for child A was set up and later formalised.

      When the local authority becomes involved with a family there are inevitably ethical dilemmas, not only for social workers but for the rest of society. It should not be forgotten that we live in a society where women now have the freedom to choose whether or not to have children and should therefore recognise their own responsibility for the choices they make. Surely the best way to tackle this problem is to provide young people with learning difficulties the necessary education about reproduction so that they can make informed choices? This approach is essentially about giving women the freedom to control their own bodies. There are many women in society who have made a positive choice not to have children and lead happy and fulfilling lives.

  7. Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    Social engineering alert:
    Statism and corporatocracy trumping family human rights breach the limits of state interventionism.

  8. Pingback: New year, new minister | This Week in Fostering

  9. “suesspiciousminds | January 16, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    This is a safe space for people to have discussions, fine for other people to disagree and challenge points, even to do so firmly, but it stays here please.”

    That’s a bit like telling someone they can’t film or photograph in public. Or that they can’t reblog one of your posts. Even fair use law permits quotations/reuse of copyrighted work that is in the public domain. People have to be prepared to stand by the courage of their convictions when posting publicly. That’s why people use avatars and pseudonyms anyway sue.

    • No, just in keeping with the comments rules.

      • Not saying that people CAN’T take these discussions outside, but that I would prefer people didn’t, and dismantled arguments that they disagree with here. Because if people have to fear being part of a Twitter storm for expressing their thoughts (even where those thoughts are wrong) then debate will be stifled.

        I think there’s a very valuable debate to be had that brings in the joy, care and love that parents with learning disabilities can bring to their children when they have the support that is needed and to show that those who are seen in these cases are not the average but a small but significant proportion. I’d love to hear more about that. I’d also be interested in discussions as to why we as a society are prepared to fund very expensive special needs education that would dwarf the costs of supporting parents like the ones in this case, but not such parents.

  10. I think that one of the problems ( and I fully admit, not the only problem in all of this) is the all or nothing nature of the decision. Why adoption? Why create the fiction for these children that someone else is their parent? These are clearly loving and devoted parents who have not deliberately harmed their children and can still be important people in the children’s lives. It would take a very positive approach to substitute care but could be done and indeed has been done. Adoption is not the only solution in this and indeed many other cases.

  11. @suesspiciousminds: “Not saying that people CAN’T take these discussions outside, but that I would prefer people didn’t, and dismantled arguments that they disagree with here. Because if people have to fear being part of a Twitter storm for expressing their thoughts (even where those thoughts are wrong) then debate will be stifled.

    I think there’s a very valuable debate to be had that brings in the joy, care and love that parents with learning disabilities can bring to their children when they have the support that is needed and to show that those who are seen in these cases are not the average but a small but significant proportion. I’d love to hear more about that. I’d also be interested in discussions as to why we as a society are prepared to fund very expensive special needs education that would dwarf the costs of supporting parents like the ones in this case, but not such parents.”

    Both are possible however. If something is posted in the public domain, then it is seen by the public. Blog posts are Tweeted all the time, with all the content that entails, as comments are of course posted publicly. If people have fear about making their comments (even behind the safety of an avatar) publicly, then perhaps those opinions are best kept private. When something is online it leaves a footprint and can be accessed in a variety of ways. If your posts can be shared, you are by default sharing the comments on it. Think of the blog hits sue.

    I would take issue with your proviso “when they have the support that is needed” because that implies that without that support people in that position are incapable of providing or demonstrating those things, which of course is utterly wrong. I think you are so involved in the processes you don’t look sufficiently or in any depth, at the injustices and inhumanity and in some cases, lack of common sense in these judgments.

    Regarding funding special needs education, don’t be under any illusion there either, parents have to battle tooth and nail to obtain what their children clearly need and are legally entitled to. Often having to go to SENDIST and in the majority of cases winning (I think the figure is 86%) thereby proving LAs are unjustly trying to prevent access to this most basic right ~ an education suitable to any special needs a child may have. All too often parents don’t obtain what their child needs at great detriment to that child’s wellbeing and future.

    LAs are happy to spend lots of money in removing children and not providing support that may work out less expensive longer-term, because there are no back-handers to anyone in providing famililes support and also LAs can control access to other expensive resoures that way, such as falsely labelling children with attachment disorder thereby preventing access to e.g. resources for ASD (assessments/diagnosis are often withheld by falsely accusing parents of neglect, emotional harm or FII) which is the most expensive condition to support. Attachment disorder isn’t a disability per se and would be a finite drain on resources as it isn’t a lifelong disorder and wouldn’t confer disability rights on the individual that demand reasonable adjustments in education, employment, communication with all public sector services etc.and can attract financial compensation for failures to do so.

    It’s about time there was a realisation that children are not islands, completely separate to their parents. All that a child is, is linked to that parent for ever. You cannot tear the two apart without causing a lot of damage all round. And if social workers think that by lying to these children that will convince them not to despair at what was done to them, well ~ let’s just say lies have a way of catching up with people.

    • It’s certainly fair to say that in my job I only come across those parents who do need support and lots of it, so I cheerfully accept that I don’t get to see or know the parents who are doing perfectly fine on their own. So apologies for not properly recognising that.

      • …well, parents you are *told* by social workers need support, some of these parents will have had a case built against them which may bear little resemblance to the truth or facts in some cases. But part of the issue is also ignorance. If social workers are inadequately trained (the parents in this case did say the support offered wasn’t right), lawyers like yourself have no training in disabilities and the courts the same, how is the disabled parent ever not going to be misjudged and misrepresented?

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