City council slammed over ‘substantial failures’ in case involving three children

A judge has raised concern about a council’s handling of a case involving three children with links to Bermuda who have been in temporary foster care for more than 20 months.

Deputy High Court Judge Leslie Samuels has criticised Birmingham City Council in a written ruling published online following a recent family court hearing in Birmingham.

The judge said he could not help but feel a “sense of despair” and said council “failure” had “substantially” caused delay.

Judge Samuels said the children, aged between 10 and two, could not be identified in media reports of the case but he has named Birmingham City Council as the local authority involved.

He said their parents had grown up in Bermuda and moved to the UK with the past six years.

The youngsters had been taken from home in early 2018 and placed into temporary foster care, pending long-term decisions about their futures, after their father was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Judge Samuels said social services staff were planning to move the children to Bermuda to live with relatives.

But he said “difficult issues” had arisen.

“It is not my intention to cast blame on any single person or group of people for the events that have taken place,” said the judge in his ruling.

“My only intention is to provide assistance to others should similar issues arise in other cases in the future.”

He added: “One cannot help but feel a sense of despair that, 21 months on from the commencement of proceedings, the welfare outcome for these three children remains uncertain.”

The judge listed a number of criticisms.

He said attempts to assess potential carers in Bermuda had been a “debacle” and the council’s failure to obtain necessary assessments had “substantially” led to delays.

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