Friday, 27 February 2015

LA`s care application condemned as social engineering

"In a scathing judgment, the president of the Family Division has condemned as "social engineering" a local authority’s application to remove a baby boy permanently from the care of his father and place him for adoption. "

"The case was, he said,
an object lesson in, almost textbook example of, how not to embark upon and pursue a care case.""In addressing these failings, Munby P identified "three fundamentally important points".

"The first point, vital for practitioners on the ground, is that findings of fact must be based on evidence, not suspicion and speculation. As the judge observed, material in local authority files is often second or third-hand hearsay. Although hearsay is admissible in care proceedings, if challenged, a local authority will have to establish its accuracy."

"The second fundamental point is that a successful application for a care order must link the facts relied on to the threshold test, i.e., why do the facts asserted lead to the conclusion that the child is at risk of suffering significant harm?"

"(T)he judge’s third fundamental point that, in the "wise and powerful words" of Hedley J in Re L (Care: Threshold Criteria [2007] 1 FLR 2050:
society must be willing to tolerate very diverse standards of parenting, including the eccentric, the barely adequate and the inconsistent…some children will experience disadvantage and harm, while others flourish in atmospheres of loving security and emotional stability. These are the consequences of fallible humanity and it is not the provenance of the state to spare children all the consequences of defective parenting. In any event, it simply could not be done.""In the same vein, as Baroness Hale explained in the celebrated Supreme Court decision In re B (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Threshold Criteria) [2013] UKSC 33: 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 and mental illnesses or who espouse antisocial political or religious beliefs."

These judgements are interesting in light of the current trend for early interventions (social engineering) and the expansion of criminal behaviour to include emotional abuse.

See `Cinderella law; emotional correctness gone mad`

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