Council halt plans to take children from couple who displayed gender identity issues

Council social services have halted plans to take children from the care of a middle-aged couple.

Social workers had raised a range of concerns including the couple’s attitude to gender identity issues.

But lawyers have told a High Court judge that reports and evidence have been re-evaluated and council bosses no longer seek to take any of the children from the couple’s care.

Detail of the case emerged on Thursday in a ruling published by Mr Justice Williams, who analysed issues at a private family court hearing in Preston, Lancashire.

The judge said the family involved could not be identified but said Lancashire County Council (pictured) had responsibility for the children’s welfare and had begun family court litigation.

He approved the withdrawal of proceedings and said concerns raised had been “comprehensively dispelled”.

Mr Justice Williams, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said a number of children lived with the couple.

He said the couple were the parents of some of the children and had fostered some of the children.

The judge said social workers initially raised concerns relating to the couple’s attitude to child health issues and a lack of “appropriate supervision”.

They were also concerned that the couple had “acted in a precipitate manner in relation to perceived gender dysphoria” in some of the children.

Mr Justice Williams said a concern had been that the couple were “resistant to acknowledging any potential disadvantages” to some of the children “being identified as transgender prematurely”.

He said an independent social worker carried out an assessment after concerns were raised.

She said the children were settled in the couple’s care and “in many respects” were receiving a “good standard” of care; said the couple appeared to have followed professional advice; and said they had a “relaxed” parenting approach and appeared to be “intelligent” carers.

Mr Justice Williams said issues relating to gender identity were “complex”.

“The lives of the family should now proceed on the basis that those concerns were comprehensively dispelled as a result of the inquisitorial process that has been undertaken,” he said.

“I do not consider it a proportionate or appropriate exercise within the confines of this hearing and this judgment to express any concluded views on how it was that these proceedings commenced.”

He added: “I observed during the course of the hearing that issues relating to gender identity and the medical understanding of such issues is complex and developing.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Thomas Nugent / Creative Commons.