Hereford & Worcester

Judge critical of Worcestershire County Council care failings

High Court Image copyright PA
Image caption A judge at the High Court in London said he was "roundly critical" of the care provided to a 14-year-old boy by Worcestershire County Council

A High Court judge has criticised a social services team for "failings" in the way it handled a boy's care.

Mr Justice Keehan said Worcestershire County Council's treatment of the 14-year-old's case since he left his mother's home almost a decade ago was "egregious in the extreme".

He said 22 social workers were involved in his care, but there had been no consistent planning.

The judge said the council had admitted liability and wanted no repeat.

Lawyers representing the boy have sued for damages with negotiations about a pay-out continuing, Mr Justice Keehan said.

He outlined his concerns in a written ruling published on Monday after analysing evidence at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court about a month ago.

Mr Justice Keehan said the boy's mother, who has since died, had agreed to him going into council care in late 2010.

But staff had not given the boy therapeutic support, bosses took too long to ask a judge to take control of the case and the foster carers had not been given adequate support, the judge said.

'Roundly critical'

The boy, who cannot be named and whose father is unknown, has lived with the same foster carers throughout.

Despite praising their "wonderful" care of the boy, the judge continued in his criticism of the council.

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"There was no consistent planning for him through a succession of 22 social workers," said Mr Justice Keehan.

"I readily recognise that all children's services departments are under great pressure as a result of increasing demands on their services and the economic climate.

"Neither, however, to my satisfaction explain the local authority's past failings in this case."

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