The High Court judge’s concerns as a vulnerable girl was ‘abandoned’ in hospital
A HIGH Court judge has expressed concern about a lack of suitable places for vulnerable children after being told how a 12-year-old girl with severe learning disabilities was “abandoned” in hospital.
Mr Justice Mostyn said it was “extraordinary” that “this rich country” could not find a suitable place for such a vulnerable youth.
The judge was told the girl, who is in the care of Knowsley Council, was admitted to hospital on January 13 for treatment of a laceration and has been “medically fit” as of January 16.
Lawyers said she remained hospitalized because the council staff responsible for her welfare were unable to make “arrangements for her safe discharge”.
The judge was told social workers thought she should be placed in a registered “therapeutic residential home” but a suitable unit could not be found.
He heard there was a nationwide shortage of such units.
Situation described as “scandalous”.
Council staff have “carried out” around 2,000 placement searches, he was told.
The judge did not criticize the advice, but called the situation in which the girl found herself “scandalous”.
Mr Justice Mostyn, who resides in London, expressed concern as he considered the girl’s case at a private online hearing in the High Court’s Family Division on Thursday.
He said the girl could not be identified in media reports of the case.
The girl is cared for by Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council. The Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board was also involved in the litigation.
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The judge heard the girl had been living with caregivers in a house rented by the community before she was hospitalized.
This accommodation is no longer available and social workers plan to move it to another rented house.
A lawyer representing the council said the house will be adapted to the girl’s needs.
The judge said he was concerned she would not be able to socialize with other children if she lived in a rented house with adult caregivers.
“Exposed” in the hospital
Mr Justice Mostyn said the girl was “abandoned” in hospital and described the situation as “almost unbelievable”.
The judge said the hospital was being used as a “sanctuary” and raised concerns the girl could suffer mental harm.
“It’s an absolute scandal,” he said. “A hospital is for very sick people.”
He added, “A hospital is the last place a fit 12-year-old should be.”
Lawyers representing the council, welfare agency and the girl said evidence showed other children were in similar situations.
Debra Powell KC, representing the nursing board, told the judge, “In my experience, this is not an isolated case.”
Jade Abraham, who represented the child, said the problem was “everyday”.
“There are not only massive problems with financing,” she said. “There seems to be a real shortage of places.”
She said a registered “therapeutic housing unit” was the best option, but such a unit was not available.
Nadia Sarwar, representing the council, said staff had “conducted over 2,000 placement searches”.
“I cannot help but state that this is an exceptional situation,” Justice Mostyn said.
“That this rich country cannot find a place for this young girl. A child in such a vulnerable state… we are somehow unable to meet their needs.”
He said it was a “national concern”.
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“It should definitely be discussed in the council chambers of the municipality,” he added. “And possibly in Parliament itself.”
The girl’s mother told the judge that the boy likes to watch football.
She said her daughter supports Liverpool and Celtic.
She said she hopes clubs could take an interest in her daughter.
https://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/news/23297230.high-court-judges-concern-vulnerable-girl-marooned-hospital/?ref=rss The High Court judge’s concerns as a vulnerable girl was ‘abandoned’ in hospital