IN THE MATTER OF THE CHILDREN ACT 1989
AND IN THE MATTER OFxxxxxxxxx CHILDREN
B e f o r e :
| Thurrock Borough Council
|- and -
B (a child) by his Guardian
Miss A Watts (instructed by Sternberg Reed) for the 1st Respondent
Mr C Munro (Munro Solicitors) for the 2nd Respondent
Crown Copyright ©
"As a parent Miss X has a particularly poor understanding and awareness of her children. She lacked a good ability to think from the children's perspective or appreciate their thoughts and feelings driving their behaviours. The overall dynamic would place Miss X's interactions in the inept range of parenting. Miss X described particularly problems with managing the children's behaviour and the reports of J and C would suggest that they were beyond parental control. Her difficulty in interpreting the children's behaviour in the context of their emotions would prevent her from adopting more successful behaviour management strategies. The paucity of emotional warmth and positivity in her relationship with all of her children would prevent her from developing more proactive strategies to reinforce positive and compliant behaviour in her children."
The ISW, Jane Dodds, reported:
"In my discussions with Miss X it was her view that she had met the basic care and developmental needs of her children and she did not need to make any changes to her parenting in order to be able to meet those needs if the children were to return to her care. It is my view that she needs to significantly develop and improve her parenting skills to professional intervention such as parenting courses if she is to be able to meet her daughter's future needs. However, her current attitude is that she would not be willing to undertake such courses and she would therefore be unlikely to benefit from being coerced to attend."
She went on to say:
"Her responses indicate she is currently unable to accept responsibility for the difficulties her children have experienced and is therefore not at a stage where she will make the necessary changes to her parenting capacity regardless of the input of resources to support her with this."
Lesley Reiff, the other independent social worker, reported:
"Miss X does not appear to be able to show the children affection, interaction or warmth. She appears to be coldly rejecting towards them. Emotional neglect is generally understood as a form of psychological unavailability of the parent. Failure to respond to children's attachment needs can result in children shutting down psychologically and ceasing to engage with those around them. This can be damaging to long-term stable emotional health."
She went on to say:
"Miss X presents as a parent with severely compromised parenting skills and a very limited capacity to heed advice. Miss X lacks a basic understanding of child development, attachment and emotional needs, and therefore she would be unlikely to be able to implement good parenting practice in order to parent her children safely and consistently. Moreover, because Miss X does not recognise any such deficiencies on her part any professional attempts to help her are likely to be futile."
"Whilst I do not slavishly follow this, I see no reason to disagree with their conclusions."
He found the threshold proven although Miss X did not agree that the criteria were made out, and he went on to make the orders I have mentioned.