Two-year-old boy from ‘smoky house’ to be placed for adoption


http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/01/two-year-old-boy-adoption-cigarette-smoke

A two-year-old boy has been removed from his parents’ care after health workers raised serious concerns about the level of cigarette smoke and drug paraphernalia in the family home.

One health visitor told a family court judge that she had not come across such a “smoky house” in her 10-year career.

The boy, who suffers with his breathing and uses an inhaler, was once found by a health worker asleep on a sofa next to his father surrounded by a “visible cloud of smoke”.

The level of cigarette smoke was one of a number of concerns that emerged in a family court ruling published on Monday.

Judge Louise Pemberton decided that the boy, who has not been named, should be placed for adoption after a hearing in Hull about the child’s welfare.

Health professionals told the judge that the home was “dirty, smelly and unhygienic” and had led the boy to suffer diarrhoea and sickness for four weeks.

Loose electrical wires were strung dangerously around the living room – including directly over the child’s toy box – and drug paraphernalia had been spotted in the home on two occasions.

There were other concerns relating to domestic violence, lack of supervision and failure to provide adequate food for the child, the judge said.

The health workers also raised concerns about the father, who tested positive for cocaine use last October and is receiving therapy for mental health issues.

But the most graphic testimony came from health visitor Julie Allen, who told the judge that the family’s living room was “so smoke entrenched that I had difficulty breathing”.

“On entering the living room Allen described being able to see a visible cloud of smoke surrounding the father and [the boy],” said the judge. “[The boy] was asleep on the sofa and had been unwell for some time by this point.

“Ms Allen described the room as ‘so smoke-entrenched that I had difficulty breathing’. She immediately expressed concern to the parents as to the impact of such smoke on [the boy], who had already been prescribed an inhaler within the previous month to help his breathing.

“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.”

Pemberton added: “Ms Allen … had not come across such a smoky house in many years and never with such a poorly boy sleeping amidst the smoke.”

The boy’s parents fought the case, disputing what many of the professionals had said about the cleanliness of their home. The boy’s mother insisted initially that they did not smoke in the house, but later conceded that there were occasions when the property was smoky.

Giving evidence, she said the house was “sometimes cluttered but never dangerous” and was sometimes in need of tidying.

However, Pemberton said she was afraid that the little boy had suffered harm. She said his parents’ care of him 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 boy] in being placed with his parents are far too high,” said the judge.

“The parents have given me no confidence in their written or oral evidence that they have sufficient understanding and awareness in relation to the professionals’ concerns to ensure that such concerns would not arise again in the future.

“Adoption really is the only option now available. In my view, nothing else will do.”

She added: “I want [the boy] 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.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: