Leading Article: Nanny judges, beware

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WHEN A court usurps the role of parents and presumes to know what is in the best interests of a child, it should make us queasy. The father and HIV-positive mother who were ordered yesterday by a judge to submit their baby to an HIV test are devoted to their daughter. There is no reason to suppose that they would do anything but their best for her.

Social workers should intervene only where the evidence of potential harm is overwhelming. The risk to the child in this case from the mother's sincere, but misguided, belief that HIV does not cause Aids tips the balance in favour of intervention - but only just. It must not, however, be a precedent or a charter for intervention.