Foster parents told to stay away from 'autistic' man
Judge backs decision to take 30-year-old away from carers despite 12-year relationship
Saturday 11 February 2012
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.
Arsenal strengthened their grip on a top-four finish with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hull City.
Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 How We Met: Alison Moyet & Emma Kennedy: 'I knew we'd be friends because she was happy to make a prat of herself'
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...