Judge orders urgent hospital treatment for ‘gravely neglected’ girl after social workers intervene
A 14-year-old girl who has been “gravely neglected” at home during lockdown must have treatment for a life-threatening illness as a matter of urgency, a High Court judge has said.
Mr Justice Hayden ruled on Friday, after an urgent, virtual hearing in the Family Division of the High Court, that the teenager should be taken to hospital in the next few hours.
Social services bosses at Stoke-on-Trent City Council (pictured) have welfare responsibilities for the girl.
They asked the judge to intervene after a social worker said the youngster’s appearance had shocked her.
Lawyers representing the council also said they would be making an application for the youngster to be taken into care.
A social worker described the girl’s family as “invisible” and the judge said the case illustrated the “vulnerability” of young people during lockdown.
Mr Justice Hayden oversaw a private hearing but said the case could be reported
He said the girl could not be identified in any report of the case.
“I am entirely satisfied that in the months of lockdown (the teenager) has been gravely neglected,” said Mr Justice Hayden.
“It has not been physically possible for her to be seen by a professional.
“A social worker described this family as an ‘invisible family’.
“There is no doubt at all that the situation that she is now in is life-threatening.”
The judge added: “I manifestly hope that it is not too late.”
He went on: “This case illustrates the vulnerability of young people in the lockdown period.”
Social workers had become aware that the girl was ill in the last 10 days, the judge heard.
They visited her home a few days ago but she had been “concealed” from them. They returned on Thursday and insisted on seeing her.
One social worker told the judge that the girl’s appearance had shocked her.
She said the youngster was shaking and looked “terminally ill”.
Doctors said they thought that the girl had a rare skin condition.
Mr Justice Hayden asked a lawyer representing the council why action had not been taken sooner but he made no criticism of social workers.
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