The local government ombudsman has asked Leeds Council to pay a
foster family £57,000 for unlawfully removing a child from
their care – one of the highest payout requests it has made.
The family were forced to fight a nine-month battle against the
council as they sought to have the boy, who has learning
difficulties, returned to them. The courts eventually granted them
a residence order.
The ombudsman, Patricia Thomas, said there were “astonishing”
shortcomings in the council’s treatment of the family.
Pointing to a “lack of clarity” about the roles of social workers
and fostering and adoption officers, she recommended the council
undertake a review of those services.
The council said it was carrying out a review.
A spokesperson for the ombudsman said the “high amount” –
£5,000 in compensation and £52,000 in fees the family
should have received – reflected the seriousness of the case.
Leeds social services director Rosemary Archer said, although the
review was continuing, “significant changes” had been made to the
council’s fostering and adoption services in the past year.