Foster parents told to stay away from 'autistic' man

Judge backs decision to take 30-year-old away from carers despite 12-year relationship

A vulnerable young man with significant learning difficulties and "autistic tendencies" was controversially taken away from his foster family of 12 years, the Court of Protection heard yesterday.

The "fairly dramatic intervention" of the local authority in removing the young man from his foster home had caused "considerable hurt" to his former foster parents, Mr Justice Hedley said.

But his judgement also saw the foster parents lose the right to any direct contact with the young man – known only as GR – for the foreseeable future, arguing that it was no longer in his best interests even though the pair had cared for him since he was 16.

The couple were given four weeks to decide whether they wanted to continue legal action over the circumstances of GR's removal from their home but warned that they could be liable for the other side's costs if unsuccessful. The young man, now aged 30, has "significant learning difficulties and what is described as autistic tendencies", Mr Justice Hedley said.

It was the latest in a series of complex ethical cases to come before the Court of Protection, which makes difficult and controversial rulings about the financial affairs and welfare of people seen to lack mental capacity. It had remained one of the most hidden corners of the justice system until a legal victory by The Independent in 2010 opened up its workings to the public. Yesterday's hearing was one of only a handful of private sessions in the court to which the media has subsequently been granted access. In his ruling, the judge used his power to decide which members of the former foster family GR would be allowed to have contact with, and how often.

He ruled that the foster parents should have no direct contact but should be allowed to send a card or photograph four times a year: at Christmas, Easter, his birthday and the summer. In his judgement, Mr Justice Hedley said: "One of the realities of acting as a foster parent is that there comes a day when you can be required to let go. The court has evidence from [a doctor] that direct contact is not in GR's best interest."

However, he ruled that GR could have direct meetings with the couple's two sons, aged 13 and 11, arguing that they "obviously have a significant relationship with GR and he with them."

He ruled that GR should be allowed to see his foster brothers seven times a year – allowing them to meet every school holiday and twice during the long summer break. But he also intended "that the door is left open" on the issue of GR's former foster parents being allowed to visit him as the situation would be kept under review.

The powers of the Court of Protection have been challenged by those who fear that there are cases when authorities attempt to use the jurisdiction to control every aspect of people's private lives.

Recent cases have included an autistic woman who was banned from having sex because she was judged to lack the mental capacity to consent and an elderly couple whose local council tried to stop them going on a cruise holiday because the wife had dementia. The court refused to ban the trip.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn