Judge berates council for seizing baby from parents in ‘very serious interference with family life’

Parents who had their baby removed from them by a council have been awarded compensation in a case being described as a “serious interference with family life”.

Social workers took the week-old child into care because its father expressed “unorthodox views” over using formula instead of breast milk.

Mr Justice Cobb ruled that Kirklees Council had breached the parents’ human rights and misled a judge.

‘Misleading’

Social workers sought an emergency hearing to place the child under the care of its grandmother. However, the parents were never told about this and the district judge was misled.

Social workers also “forgot to notify” the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.

Mr Justice Cobb said the failure to notify the parents was “particularly egregious” while “misleading the district judge no fewer than three times that the parents knew of the hearing aggravates the culpability yet further”.

Compensation

After three months, the child was given back to his parents and the judge noted that he has “continued to thrive” ever since.

The case was examined by an independent social worker who said she ‘struggled to understand’ why the baby had been taken into care in the first place.

The parents, who suffer from mild learning difficulties, were awarded £11,250 in compensation by the judge.

However, the couple are “unlikely to receive” the money which is expected to go to the Legal Aid Agency.

‘State interference’

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “This case shows the damage that can be inflicted by state officials who find the views of certain families to be out of step with social work orthodoxy.

“A child being removed from its loving parents because of the father’s views on powdered milk is extraordinary.

“At a time when checks on home schooling parents are being considered and vague ‘British values’ are being promoted in schools, Christian parents need more assurance that they are protected from state interference.”

‘Life sentence’

In 2015, a young cohabiting couple had their child forcibly removed from them and given up for adoption after they were wrongly accused of child abuse.

The couple were charged with child cruelty, but medical evidence showed that bruising had been caused by a blood disorder.

Despite being found innocent, their legal team said the ruling was final and gave the couple a “life sentence” without their child.

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