We were instructed to represent the Mother who was 43 years old and had recently arrived from Italy on an application submitted by the Local Authority (LA) for an ICO in respect of a child aged 14 and diagnosed with Battens Disease and Epilepsy with a short life expectancy requiring 24-hour care.
In April 2020, the child was taken into hospital unwell and discharged without the Covid test results coming back. Following return home test was confirmed positive and by then the parents and his only sibling were displaying symptoms. LA issued care proceedings on the basis of concerns about his long term care, in particular as they all had Covid-19 but more so the LA were concerned the parents had not taken appropriate steps to safeguard or seek medical attention for him on an urgent basis.
No consideration had been given to the parents own physical and mental conditions at the time the application as made. They sighted the parent’s lack of capacity or willingness to meet the basic care needs of the child in an emergency situation. They also relied on previous concerns.
The fact that the parents were Covid-19 positive and in a situation beyond their control at a time when the entire world had a pandemic was not considered a particularly isolated case. The LA wanted the parents to undergo further training before the child could be returned to the parents’ care but the judge made it clear it was a case isolated to the facts and one where an order was made correctly notwithstanding the parents were suffering from Covid-19. At the time they would not have been in a position to exercise parental responsibility.
The client was represented by family and child care director Forida Hakim, instructing Rebekah Wilson of Garden Court Chambers.