‘Aggressive’ father granted sole parental responsibility for his son
An “aggressive” father has been granted sole parental responsibility for his son, even though the court had concerns about his parenting skills and his hostile attitude towards social workers.
The court heard that the 12-year-old son had been cared for by his father until 2012 when he was left alone at home and a fire broke out. This led to boy being taken into foster care.
The father attended a 12-week parenting course and his son was returned to him on the understanding that he would accept the ongoing involvement of the local authority. However, the father then refused to co-operate with the authority, and refused to let social workers or the children’s guardian visit the son.
The local authority decided it was impossible to work with the father and sought to have the son brought into foster care again. The child’s guardian believed this would cause more harm than good and that the issue needed to be resolved quickly to avoid the son suffering emotional harm.
The local authority then came to the same view and proposed that the care order be discharged and a referral made to the Common Assessment Framework, which would provide support from education and health professionals without local authority involvement.
The father submitted that the care order should be discharged and the local authority should provide more support.
The court held that there was no benefit in retaining the care order. The implacable hostility of the father towards the local authority and his aggression towards professionals while in the child's presence had generated conflict which had caused the child harm.
The child had always wished to remain with his father and had adopted an increasingly negative attitude towards social workers. A change of residence would have a profound effect on him and was not viable. Nor was it workable for a care order to remain as a framework for additional support and protection.
The care order was therefore discharged giving the father sole parental responsibility. Given that the father was unable to work with social workers, future support should come from the Common Assessment Framework, not the local authority.
Please contact Siobhan Thompson or Paul Owen if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.