Press Urged to Publicise Successes of Family Justice System

In paying tribute to a social worker for her sterling work in reuniting a troubled young mother with her longed-for baby daughter, a senior judge has urged the press to give greater publicity to positive outcomes achieved by the family justice system.

The 17-year-old mother had made ‘great strides’ and ‘remarkable progress’ with the ‘very positive help and support’ of her social worker and the judge said that, thanks to her efforts, what could well have been a familiar tale of permanent family fracture had ended with the ‘happy baby’ living in the bosom of her family.

The ‘volatile’ teenager was herself in the care of Leicestershire County Council when she gave birth. The Council was concerned that she would not be able to cope and her baby was sent to live with her grandmother. However, despite her chaotic past, the teenager had since shown utter commitment to proving herself as a parent.

The little girl had shown ‘good attachment’ to her mother and, in those circumstances, the Council had withdrawn its application for a full care order. The judge noted that it was important that press publicity should not be restricted to complex cases or those which culminated in criticism of social workers or other professionals.

The judge said, “There are many other cases, of which this case is one, which are illustrative of high quality and sympathetic social work practice, of local authorities working in partnership with families to try to support them in caring for their children. In my respectful opinion, cases in which there is evidence of good practice leading to positive outcomes for children and families are just as newsworthy as those which are more problematic.

“In this case, I commend this mother for the great strides that she has made over the last few months. I hope that progress will be maintained. I also commend this local authority and this social worker for the work that they have undertaken with this family.”