Two-year-old boy taken away from parents 'because they smoked too much' in dirty house

A judge at a family court in Hull found the health risks were 'too high' to stay

Lizzie Dearden@lizziedearden
Monday 01 June 2015 15:25
Annual tobacco production contributes almost 84 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions to climate change
Annual tobacco production contributes almost 84 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions to climate change

A two-year-old boy with breathing difficulties has been taken away from his parents partly because a health visitor found that they smoked too much.

The child will be placed for adoption after a judge ruled that the risk to his health was “far too high” at a family court hearing in Hull.

Judge Louise Pemberton said she was “afraid” that he had been harmed and that his parents' had fallen well below “good enough”.

“I am afraid that all of these matters lead me to an unavoidable and difficult conclusion that the risks to (the little boy) in being placed with his parents are far too high,” she said in a written judgement.

“Adoption really is the only option now available to (the little boy), in my view, nothing else will do…I want him to know that in my judgment his parents loved him very much and tried very hard but they were simply not able to meet his needs.”

According to new research, parents who smoke are plunging nearly half a million children into poverty

A health visitor had voiced concerns about the child’s “smoky house”, which she said was the worst she had seen in her 10-year career.

Julie Allen told the court that she found it difficult to breathe in the home and that the boy had been prescribed an inhaler the month before her visit because of breathing problems.

“On entering the living room Ms Allen described being able to see a visible cloud of smoke surrounding the father and (the boy),” Judge Pemberton said.

“(The boy) was asleep on the sofa and had been unwell for some time by this point…the parents seemed unable both at that stage and when the issue of smoking around (the boy) was raised by any other professional, to acknowledge or appreciate the concern and adapt their behaviour.”

A nursery nurse, Emma Green, said in her submission to the judge that the floor of the house was “cluttered” with empty cigarette packets and other rubbish, while a social worker claimed that the child’s clothes and toys “smelt heavily of smoke”.

Schools including Felmore Primary School in Basildon, Essex, have told parents off for smoking outside the gates

Other concerns raised by health workers and social services included the father’s mental health problems and the ”dirty, smelly and unhygienic“ state of their home.

Judge Pemberton was told that that "potential drug paraphernalia" had been spotted and that the boy's father had tested positive for cocaine.

Both parents attempted to fight the local council’s application for their son to be adopted.

Judge Pemberton said she found it "hard to accept" the mother’s claims that neither of them smoked in the house and that she was “paranoid” about cleanliness.

She added that the father had accepted that there was "thick smoke at the property".

The local authority that asked for the little boy to be placed for adoption was not identified and the judge ruled that he cannot be named.

Additional reporting by PA