Mother whose son was taken into care is spared court hearing which could ‘overwhelm’ her

A High Court judge has refused to hold a court hearing to examine the reasons why a two-year-old boy has been removed from the care of his mentally ill mother, describing it as “a deplorable waste of valuable resources”.

The boy was taken into care by Barnsley Council, which applied for an interim care order the day after he was born.

The council applied for a permanent care order and asked the mother to sign a document, which stated she “poses a risk of serious harm” to her son and asked her to admit to a series of allegations, about her history of drug abuse, severe mental health issues and the alleged mistreatment of her first child.

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, accepted that she cannot care for her son and said she would not oppose the care order. She also admitted many of the claims but refused to accept all of them.

The judge refused to order a five-day hearing to examine all of the allegations made by Barnsley Council. Please note: This is a stock image and not the boy involved in the case.

The council then took legal action, claiming the mother’s statement does not “properly reflect” the reasons why her son was taken away from her, and asked the High Court to hold a five-day hearing to examine each of the allegations made against her.

Mr Justice Nicholas Mostyn has ruled that hearing would be unnecessary and the council will be able to apply for a permanent care order in September, without any opposition from the mother.

In his ruling, he said a fact finding hearing “would likely overwhelm” the “extraordinarily vulnerable” mother and there would be “no advantage at all to” her son.

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The judge added: “(He) would be likely at some stage in the future to learn that a case about her conduct towards him had led to widespread anguish. I believe that such knowledge would be harmful.”

The mother, who was abused as a child, has been diagnosed with a number of mental health disorders and has a history of drug dependence.

She has been self harming since the age of 12, made a number of suicide attempts and been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Her first child, a girl born in 2016, was admitted to hospital several times with vomiting and dehydration, and doctors were concerned she was not being fed.

After the girl swallowed an opiate painkiller in January 2017 and became seriously ill, she was taken to live with her father.

The council intervened the day after her son was born in March 2020, and took him into care.

Mr Justice Mostyn said the council already has a 4,200-page bundle of evidence, including “uncontradicted expert evidence”, to support its claim that she cannot care for the boy.

The judge also said the mother has already “admitted a large number of the concrete facts alleged against her“ and a five-day fact finding hearing, which would cost the taxpayer around £300,000, “simply cannot be justified”.

“In my judgement it would be a deplorable waste of valuable resources for the un-admitted allegations to be formally adjudicated in a state trial. I cannot see any upside to allowing this to proceed,” he added.