‘Teenager is danger to himself’ says Judge
September 4, 2017 1 comment
A 14 year-old boy must be confined with secure accommodation for his own good, the High court has ruled.
The boy in question, ‘F’, has been in care since June this year, in the London Borough of Southwark. He had been the subject of investigations by social workers and was assessed by an experienced child psychiatrist earlier this year.
He concluded that the boy had experienced both emotional and physical neglect during an unstable childhood characterised by “significant disruption to his care” in the words of High Court Judge Mr Justice Hayden.
As a result he had become extremely self-reliant and distanced himself from the adults around him “whom he does not see as safe, or authoritative or dependable.” His behaviour had also deteriorated, to the extent that he had become involved with gangs and drugs and been diagnosed with “conduct disorder”.
Professionals working with the teen feared he was at risk of mental health problems and more severe personality disorders in the future. He was placed in a residential children’s home but ran away and was eventually found in a crack den.
While the search for a suitable placement in a secure unit continued, the local authority applied for the legal authority to place F in such accommodation, along with a ‘deprivation of liberty’ (DoL) application authorising the resulting restrictions on his freedom of movement. F’s own mother was in favour of this plan.
In August Mr Justice Moor issued initial DoL authorisation, and this later renewed by Mrs Justice Parker. Mr Justice Hayden has now renewed the authorisation for a third time.
He noted that, , under the Children Act 1989, placement in secure accommodation required a real risk the the child would abscond; and that he or she would be vulnerable to serious harm if they did so.
Such orders could only be issued a matter of last resort, the Judge explained, as they constituted a “significant” deprivation of the boy’s liberty.
But, said the Judge, “F is a danger to himself; to other vulnerable young people; to the public generally and in particular to those charged with his care.”
Photo by DeclanTM via Flickr
September 4, 2017