CONCERN over a father’s “unorthodox views” on bottle sterilisation and formula milk sparked a series of events that left his week-old son in care, a court has heard. Medical staff had told Kirklees Council of concerns for the family, and social workers later removed the baby. Care chiefs then “misled” a family court and falsely claimed the parents “agreed” to the child’s removal. A High Court judge has now ordered the council to pay the family £11,250. The baby was returned to the parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, more than two months after being taken. The High Court heard the mother suffered from minor mental health problems and other difficulties and the father had in the past been aggressive to others, but staff at the special care baby unit had no child protection concerns. However, Mr Justice Cobb said medics had expressed worries about the couple’s ability to care for the baby. The father had, among other things, “expressed unorthodox views about the need for sterilisation of bottles and the benefits of formula milk”.
Kirklees Council persuaded a family court to approve the baby being taken into emergency care as he was about to be discharged from hospital. Mr Justice Cobb said the council had “misled” the family judge, wrongly claiming the parents had been “given notice” of the hearing and had “agreed” to the child being taken. The boy was placed in the care of relatives and returned to his parents about 10 weeks later. Finding in favour of the family, Mr Justice Cobb said in the year since being returned to his parents the boy had thrived. He added: “There is no doubt in my mind, indeed it is admitted, that Kirklees Council breached the human rights of a baby boy and his parents. “I am satisfied that the breaches were serious. The separation of a baby from his parents represents a very serious interference with family life.” He awarded the mother, father and the infant £3,750 each in damages. Kirklees Council said in a statement: “The court and parties accepted that the council was correct to issue these proceedings, but mistakes were made which resulted in the court awarding the family compensation.”