Teenage girl to remain in council care after judge finds father unable to set boundaries

A man has lost a fight to regain the care of his teenage daughter after a family court judge concluded that he found it “difficult to say no” to her.

Judge Joanna Vincent said she was concerned that the man was unable to set behaviour boundaries.

She decided that the youngster, who is in her mid-teens, should stay in council care and continue to live at a children’s home.

The judge said the girl needed to live with a carer who was “very clear about rules” and the “consequences for breaking them”.

Judge Vincent has outlined her decision in a ruling after analysing evidence at a family court hearing in Oxford in July.

She said the girl, who is in the care of Oxfordshire County Council (pictured), could not be identified.

The man and his wife, who were separated, had a number of children, she said.

Social workers had intervened some years ago when the couple were together and the children had gone into council care.

Judge Vincent said the couple had “no control” over their children.

She said the children had shown a “complete lack of respect” for their parents.

A few months ago the man, who still sees the girl, had asked if she could be allowed to live with him.

The girl said she wanted to live with her father.

Her mother also backed the idea.

But Judge Vincent dismissed the man’s application.

She said he had attended parenting courses and shown “some ability” to “reflect upon the shortcomings of the past”.

But the judge said she was not convinced that he could meet the girl’s needs or keep her safe.

“It is clear that he has not himself ever had any success in imposing boundaries,” said Judge Vincent.

“I am concerned that the father is unable to set any sort of boundaries around (the girl’s) behaviour.”

The judge explained her thinking to the girl in a letter, which she attached to the ruling.

“I do not think he has been able to show that he would be able to look after you,” she wrote.

“Your dad really loves you and wants the best for you, but that means that he finds it difficult to say no to you.”

The judge added: “I think it is very important that you live with a carer who is very clear about rules or boundaries and the consequences for breaking them.

“This is not because I want you to have a hard time or no fun in your life, but if there are clear rules then you can be kept safe, and you also feel safe, because you always know what to expect from your carer.”

She went on: “I do not think your dad is able to keep you safe.”

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