Independent investigation upholds social services complaint

AN independent investigation has upheld complaints about Camden social services’ treatment of a teenager after she was wrongly placed in foster care.

The teenager’s mother won £2,000 compensation and an apology from the Town Hall two years ago after Camden Council admitted “maladministration”.

Her 15-year-old daughter was taken away from the family home in Kentish Town without the legal requirement of a court order or consent from the mother.

Now a second investigation has upheld further complaints that Camden Council failed to find her a decent home.

The independent report by the charity Voice found that meetings to discuss finding her accommodation “never occurred”.

The girl, now 18, was not at the time registered as one of Camden’s “Looked after children” (LAC).

The report adds: “Had this happened, the most likely outcome would have been that [she] met the criteria for accomm­odation under Section 20 of the Children Act … Greater attempts should have been made to deliver an enhanced service to meet [her] changing needs.”

The report said the council was investigating whether the young woman should be given “back-dated celebrations and clothing money” for her time while she was not registered as an LAC. She is now living in temporary accomm­odation outside of Camden and has been registered as a “former relevant child”.

A council spokesman said laws regarding the housing of children in need changed in 2009.

In response to the report, the council’s head of adult social care said: “I accept more robust attempts should have been made to assess [her] changing status which required greater intervention by children’s services when she presented for support.”

The teenager’s mother said she had received three apology letters from the council, who have offered her counselling to help rebuild the relationship with her daughter.

The daughter was removed from the family home after it was alleged the mother had caused bruising to her during a row. The mother denies this, arguing the council’s mistakes had caused last­ing damage to her family.

A council spokesman said: “In this case, as with all others, no one ‘slipped through the net’ and services were provided according to how the law stood at the time.”