Independent probe under way into Haringey ‘child snatch’ allegations

An independent investigation has been launched into allegations that a foster child was “snatched” by two social workers from Haringey Council.

Neighbours of the child’s carer alleged that the boy, known as child C, was forcibly removed in August while playing with other children outside the home he had lived in for nearly half his life .

Less than two hours before the boy was removed, his carer had lost a legal bid to become his guardian.

A Haringey Council spokesperson  said: “The welfare of child C is of paramount importance. However, a complaint has been made by the foster carer and is now subject to the council’s complaints procedure, which involves an independent investigator. This is usual practice.”

Consultant child psychiatrist Dr Hamish Cameron, who was heavily involved in the case, has complained to the Commission for Social Care Inspection about the way the child was allegedly removed.

Cameron, who was involved in the case as an expert witness, said the child could suffer long-term psychological damage as a result of being removed from the person he knew as his mother for 16 months. He has not seen her since he was removed and is now with his adoptive family.

But a CSCI spokesperson said it could not investigate the case because it fell outside its remit.

Community Care has written to Haringey’s legal department urging it to challenge a wide-ranging court order that has made it difficult for councillors, even those with corporate parenting duties, to obtain information about the case.

The order prevents people seeking information from “any employee of the borough of Haringey”, apart from the solicitor responsible for the case and the council’s press office.

Liberal Democrat councillor Gail Engert called for an independent investigation into the case after concerns that the order would hamper councillors trying to fulfil their corporate parenting duties.

How the controversy unfolded
July 2006:
High Court rules that child C should be placed with adoptive parents.
24 August: Foster carer refused the right to appeal the decision; two social workers allegedly “snatch” C from outside his foster home
13 October: Independent investigator appointed to look into complaint.

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