Parents in ‘open’ relationship lose children to care system

family life

A couple in the West Midlands have lost their three children to the care system after social workers grew concerned they were neglecting their children.

Both parents are openly involved in other relationships, with the mother meeting men she knew online at her house, sometimes while the children, all aged less than five, were present.

At a family court hearing, Her Honour Judge Williscroft explained:

“The father had his own lifestyle outside the family home which plainly included going clubbing until the early hours as well as being involved with other people.”

She added:

“In respect of both parents, the court is not concerned about their private lives and how they will conduct them unless it impacts on the care of the children – which at this time was neglectful.”

The couple denied claims by the social workers, from Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, that they were in an open relationship. But nevertheless, the Judge noted, the father, who still lived with the mother, “didn’t fully understand either why the presence of strangers at the home meeting the mother for sex was worrying”.

Judge Williscroft described the relationship as a “dysfunctional” one which must have been “confusing for the children”. The latter were not supervised consistently and the parents relied on others to protect the youngsters from hazards.

She concluded:

“…my analysis is there are no realistic alternatives to meet the children’s welfare needs throughout their lives but adoption. I bear in mind and balance that each child has a loving relationship and attachment with their parents but has also been harmed by neglect and would be at risk of harm in their care.”

Read more here.

Photo by John Morgan via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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