Senior judge slams Redbridge Council for ‘letting down’ toddler in adoption case

Redbridge Council has been criticised by a High Court judge for its handling of a 2-year-old girls a

Redbridge Council has been criticised by a High Court judge for its handling of a 2-year-old girls adoption case. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Social services bosses at Redbridge Council have come under fire from a senior judge over their handling of a 21-year-old woman and her two-year-old daughter.

Mr Justice Moor has listed a series of “failings” by staff at the council after deciding that the little girl – who will be three in January – must be placed for adoption.

The judge said there had been many operational social work failings, remarking that one care worker had not been remotely supportive of the woman and that staff had been very insensitive when telling her of a change in a care plan.

He said the council had asked a judge to make decisions about the little girl’s future shortly after the woman gave birth.

Proceedings had gone on for 148 weeks when rules said such litigation should last no longer than 26 weeks.

The judge said the woman and her daughter were “due an apology”.

Mr Justice Moor has outlined complaints in a written ruling on the case following family court hearings in London.

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“(The girl) has been let down in a quite unacceptable way,” said the judge.

“The strain on (her) mother has been huge. She has been let down as well.

“Everything that could go wrong in this case has gone wrong.”

He added: “(The girl) and her family are due an apology for this unacceptable state of affairs.”

Social workers had outlined concerns about the woman’s “lack of engagement with professionals”, volatile behaviour, and use of skunk cannabis.

Mr Justice Moor said he had with great reluctance concluded that he had to rule her out as a carer.

The judge said the woman’s use of cannabis was a “real and genuine concern”.

He said she had been taking cannabis for nearly a decade and had gone one from “one zoot a day to three zoots”.

Mr Justice Moor said the woman had been badly let down by her parents and had been in care as a child. He said she had moved from placement to placement and had not had a happy experience.

He said the little girl’s father had numerous convictions relating to drug use violence and had not played any part in the litigation.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “We acknowledge and accept that mistakes were made in this case and we have written to the young woman to apologise as well as apologising to her in person.

“The delays in proceedings were down to a number of factors but we accept that in part Redbridge Council contributed to these.

“Following the hearing we commissioned an independent investigation, and we will ensure that the lessons we have learned from this will be built upon for the future to avoid delays such as this happening again.”