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Mar 02

Judge rules Bucks girls can go home

Milton Keynes Magistrates Court, where the case was heard.

Milton Keynes Magistrates Court, where the case was heard.

A Family Court judge has ruled two children should go home after criticising a local authority for failing to admit that they were suffering emotional harm in its care.

District Judge Patrick Perusko made the order on Friday 26th February 2016 in Milton Keynes Family Court.

A series of exchanges between the judge and Mr Shaw, representing Buckinghamshire County Council, served to illustrate the extent to which local authorities go to build a case against parents while denying all responsibility themselves.

Mr Shaw contended that the children, girls aged twelve and fourteen, were at significant risk of harm at home.  The Local Authority, he said, wanted to keep the girls in care.

But after repeated questioning by District Judge Perusko, it emerged that the report prepared by social worker Rosalinde Woodroffe had not adequately balanced this alleged harm with the known harm currently occurring to the sisters from being held in a foster home where they had been deprived of privacy, night-clothes, toothbrushes and even clean underwear.

Bucks County Council were not ‘considering the other side of the coin’, said the judge.

The eldest girl had emailed the judge pleading to go home, and her views and those of her sister must be taken into account, he said.

Mr Shaw said the parents needed to recognise that they had harmed their children, even though the girls had subsequently challenged what the social worker wrote down, which was the Council’s only basis for keeping them.  He was incensed that the children had refused to give social workers the pins to their mobile phones and annoyed that there appeared to be ‘collusion’ between the children and their parents. He contended there was fear in the home of the Christian family, physical chastisement, and a belief in satanic forces.

But the judge insisted that there was no analysis by the local authority of the harm being suffered now and therefore no possible assessment of a ‘balance of harm’.

He had no need to hear from the parents’ barrister, he said, and then explained ‘why the children are going home’.

The District Judge said: ‘Children should be at home if possible and should only be removed when there is a real risk of harm.’  He said the risks about which the local authority was concerned ‘have not gone but can be safely managed with the children returned home’.

Mr Shaw said the children would return home after school that same afternoon.

Afterwards, the court-appointed children’s guardian said she was ‘very pleased’ with the outcome.

The parents, devout Christians, were praising God outside the courtroom after the verdict.

Mr Shaw refused to comment.

On the train home, this writer received a call to report that the girls had indeed returned home.

This might not be the end of the matter.  Bucks County Council seem determined to try to get the children back, but the case has shown that prayer and hope can prevail.  Dear reader, give God the glory.  The presence of the Press in a courtroom probably does no harm either.  And after the debacle of the week before, this time there was no objection to the presence of a journalist in the courtroom from Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

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1 comment

  1. Rox

    One problem here is that most people these days just don’t believe in satanic forces, and for this reason those who do are likely to be viewed with suspicion.

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