Local council told to put son in a home after mother kept him in squalid conditions with little food
A vulnerable young man must be forcibly separated from his abusive mother and made to live in a council-run care home against his will, a judge has ordered. Judge Martin Cardinal gave permission for local authorities to deprive the man, known as WMA, of his liberty, allowing them to stop him from leaving the home if they thought he might run away.
WMA, 25, who is autistic and suffers from development disorders, has rarely been allowed outside by his mother. He lacks all social skills, as well as the ability to look after himself. However, the court heard that he wanted to stay at home despite his mother “dominating” his life and verbally and mentally abusing him. “WMA needs a relationship with his mother but at times contact might not be in his best interests,” the judge wrote.
His mother, identified as MA, struggles to care for either herself or her son, the court heard. She kept their house in such squalid condition that the pair had to be moved to a new property by the local council. The judge called photographs of the house revolting. MA denied accusations that she had threatened to kill both herself and her son if they were separated.
The court heard that WMA, whose disorder doctors likened to Asperger’s, led an isolated and insular life with his mother. She was arrested for neglecting him in 2011 but no charges were brought. The court heard that MA, who is in poor health, routinely refused help for her son and held him back. Care workers worried that there was often a lack of food in the house.
However, during a short stay in a care home WMA appeared to enjoy social contact, the judge heard, and began to learn skills such as how to make toast.
In his decision, at Birmingham crown court on 23 July but only recently published, the judge wrote: “Whatever she may say about being a good mother to WMA, and I am sure she intends to be one, [MA] is, in practice, a poor one; for she has done little to forward his learning, social and self-care skills.”
Accepting the proposals of council care workers, the judge ordered that the pair be allowed only “telephone contact for the first two weeks and unsupervised contact twice weekly for a maximum of two hours”.
He added that contact should “involve a member of staff being able to supervise it, though not actually be in the room”. After a month, he said that contact between WMA and his mother should be “simply monitored rather than supervised”, but he warned that “contact need not be de-stabilising or undermining”.
The decision was handed down in the court of protection, which handles the affairs of people adjudged not to have mental capacity to do so themselves.
It came to light after news that the number of requests to deprive vulnerable people of their liberty for their own safety has hit a record high. According to Health and Social Care Information figures released in late August, there were nearly 12,000 deprivation of liberty safeguards requests made in England in 2012-13, a rise of 66% since 2010.
SOURCE: The Guardian