Social worker criticised for ‘factually impoverished’ evidence in court

Judge Moradifar said the social worker's evidence was some of the most "unhelpful" he'd ever heard

criticism
Photo: gustavofrazao/Fotolia

A social worker has been criticised after presenting some of the most “factually impoverished and unhelpful evidence” a judge had heard from a professional in court.

The social worker had held the case for the two children subject to care proceedings for six months, but was “unable to explain the decision-making process through which he came to conclusions about these parents”.

Judge Moradifar said: “He was argumentative in the witness box and unable to provide a balanced analysis of any of the issues during his involvement in the case. His evidence was an astonishing display of how little he knew about this case.”

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The judge was more positive about the children’s current social worker, and said she gave “more measured and balanced evidenced about the mother”.

The comments came in a care proceedings case where the local authority proposed that two children should be made subject to care orders and placement orders for adoption. The plans were opposed by the children’s parents.

‘Fair opportunity’

The mother, who was a care leaver and had suffered “horrific” and “highly damaging” experiences as a child and teenager told the judge she had not been adequately assessed, and that there was more information that could be found about her parenting capacity. The judge said she had presented a well-thought out proposal about how the children could be rehabilitated into her care.

However, due to problems with her parenting style and her requirements for lengthy therapy identified in a psychiatric assessment, Judge Moradifar decided to give both children placement orders, with a plan that they be adopted together. The parents would have contact with the children until they were placed with an adopter, and letterbox contact thereafter, with direct contact explored as a possibility if it could be managed safely.

Judge Moradifar added: “The process that has been engaged by the local authority over many years and until this hearing has not given the mother a fair opportunity to demonstrate her parenting capacity.”

The judge was critical of the local authority’s complaints about the mother’s lack of engagement. The issues were based on historical events, and the last time the mother was offered therapy was in 2015.

“It is important to note that [at] the times these services were offered to the mother, she was a teenager or a care leaver. She was deeply troubled and at that time misusing drugs and alcohol. I found there was a real lack of analysis by the local authority witnesses when giving evidence on these issues,” Judge Moradifar said.

‘Uncertain’

A psychiatric assessment of the mother said she had suffered “highly damaging” life experiences and remained “vulnerable to making poor life choices, whereby she will compromise her safety and that of any child in her care”.

A therapy programme would take two years, and the psychiatrist believed the mother had “limited capacity to change” and the prognosis for the effect of the therapy was “uncertain”.

The court also heard from a clinical psychologist that the mother’s parenting was “an avoidant attachment style”.

“This was significant from [the pyschologist’s] specialist perspective,” the judgment said. “She accepted that this is not noticeable by a social worker or contact worker. She explained that if this was the only issue, there would be some work that could be undertaken with the mother within the children’s timescale. However, looking at the totality of the mother’s psychological make-up, the mother’s ability to make protective and safe decisions is ‘really skewed’,” the judgment said.

She added that “in time” she would be an excellent mother, but her required therapy would be beyond the two children’s timescale.

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4 Responses to Social worker criticised for ‘factually impoverished’ evidence in court

  1. londonboy September 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    ”She added that “in time” she would be an excellent mother, but her required therapy would be beyond the two children’s timescale.”
    so this poor woman had been in the care for the local authority for a decade potentially and yet when she became a mum herself, the work need to help her ( support offered) ”would be beyond the two children’s timescales”? … inter-generational avoidable tragedy piled on tragedy with a ‘get out of jail free’ card for those involved in her care ‘within the system’?

    • Planet Autism September 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

      Absolutely agree londonboy. How is it fair to penalise both mother and children for the state’s gross failings. It beggars belief that the care system is seen as a viable option for any child with outcomes being so appalling and having such detrimental lifelong effects. The mother has been punished for the LAs failings. I do not believe by any stretch that this situation could not have been saved for the mother. This is about an over-zealous child removal policy, inability to accept money needs spending to adequately support people and a washing hands of the situation by expedient removal and adoption. The very fact the mother wanted her children, fought in court, put forward a case, acknowledged she needed help shows the situation was not irretrievable and that she could have been supported to keep her children.

    • jay September 14, 2017 at 10:18 pm #

      totally agree londonboy! also I thing this is just mounting evidence of the distgusting state of the UK at the moment. Authoritarian, policestate, camera-ed up to the hilt and ready yor take your kinds at a moments notice without bothering to even hear any alternatives. we need to even the big-governmen. ASAP. The state needs to butt out of peoples business. the vast majority of people are descent and yet the state treats it as GUILTY-until-proven-innocent. sad. very sad. I left UK due to this in do not intend to return. it always amazes me when I see the new or “X-thousands of immigrants coming to the country.” I can´t help thinking how utterly desperate they must be to want to go the the UK. jeeeze!

  2. Louise September 19, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

    I agree londonboy. Only in the UK. This mother has been failed by the system and now her children. All because social workers have targets to meet set by Government. Best to get psychiatric assessment done yourself with reputable company, not LA solicitors appointed psycho’s.