A judge has dismissed concerns that two foster parents in Lancashire have been manipulating children in their care to ‘change sex’.
One of the couple’s biological sons began living as a girl from the age of seven. Two of their three foster children also subsequently began living as the opposite sex.
A social worker from Lancashire Social Services said the couple “have manipulated children’s gender and diagnosis of additional needs”. However, the council later dropped its attempt to remove the children.
The judge from Preston Family Court ruled that the couple were “good parents”, largely based on comments presented by psychologist Vickie Pasterski.
Pasterski is publicly supportive of a doctor who was struck off for illegally distributing damaging sex-change hormones to children as young as twelve.
Helen Webberley ran an online GP clinic from her home in Abergavenny, and used her position to operate a private clinic for children who felt they were ‘in the wrong body’.
Healthcare Inspectorate Wales said Webberley had posed “a risk to patient safety” and the General Medical Council later revoked her licence.
Social services began investigating the Lancashire case after a boy in the couple’s care was given girls’ clothing to wear to school from the age of four.
Another child told his school that he “did not think life was worth living”.
One of the children, who has been living as a girl since the age of seven, was encouraged to change his name and apply for a new passport.
Risk of harm
Social workers said they feared the couple had “actively encouraged” the children into “early transitions” which risked causing them “significant emotional harm”, according to The Sunday Times.
Vickie Pasterski claimed that none of the children “have suffered or are at risk of suffering significant emotional harm arising from their complete social transition to females occurring at a very young age”.
She believes gender dysphoria is not caused by “interpersonal influence or environmental influence”.
The NHS’s leading gender identity service for children disputes such claims.
Bernadette Wren, head of clinical psychology at the centre, has acknowledged “children are likely to be more easily influenced by their parents’ view about gender”.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Social Services said the couple have “consistently sought to have additional foster children placed in their care”.