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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions >> C (Children), Re  EWCA Civ 1305 (4 July 2001)
Cite as:  3 FCR 164,  EWCA Civ 1305
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ON APPEAL FROM MEDWAY COUNTY COURT
(His Honour Judge Hargrove OBE QC)
Wednesday 4 July 2001
B e f o r e :
(Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss)
LORD JUSTICE THORPE
MR S LYONS (instructed by Medway Council Legal Services, Civic Centre, Strood, Rochester, Kent) appeared on behalf of the Respondent
MISS J BUTLER (instructed by Brachers, Somerfield House, 59 London Road, Maidstone, Kent) appeared on behalf of the Guardian
Crown Copyright ©
Wednesday 4 July 2001
"We are applying for an order pursuant to section 38(6) of the Children Act 1989 that a residential assessment take place at the Cassel Hospital. . ."
"We are making this application because Medway Council are unwilling to agree a residential placement at the Cassel due to the costs.
Medway Council have proposed two alternative Centres, neither of which it is felt would be able to offer the same degree of intensive therapy and expertise as has been offered by the Cassel.
The Court is therefore asked to determine which of the three proposed Centres would be appropriate for the assessment of parents and children to take place."
"This statement is prepared to inform the Court and the relevant parties [of] the Local Authority's position around the issue of the family attending a residential assessment at the Cassel".
"The Local Authority has now received the initial assessment report. . . prepared by Dr Kennedy, that states that they may be able to elicit some change within the family and wish to offer the family a 6-8 week residential assessment with intensive therapy to see if they can work with the family."
"The Local Authority is now in agreement to offering the family a residential assessment, but would like to be able to consider other alternatives, which are local to Medway."
"This Local Authority, for a number of reasons opposes this application. We do not feel it is in the best interests of the children, as we believe the main focus of the Cassell's work to be therapy for the parents and that the potential for the parents to improve their parenting is poor, and in any event, would be outside any acceptable timeframe to meet their children's overriding need for permanency and security.
In addition, the costs of the Cassell Hospital are incredibly high and this Authority feels it would be helpful for the court, in considering the application, to have detailed information about the budgetary considerations and implications for the Authority if the application were to be upheld."
"Are you saying that, if the court says no to the Cassel, we should not bother with Fegans?
A. Yes, I have said that to your Honour, that is my view.
Q. . . . So your view in black and white terms to this court is that it is the Cassel or nothing?
A. That is correct, your Honour."
"First of all, it is said that what is being offered in the package is therapy; it is not the assessment. What is more, most of the therapy is in relation to the parents and not in relation to the children."
"[That sentence] fits almost exactly into what is being recommended here. What is being sought is that, by the use of various devices, with the children being present with the parents, then an assessment can be made of how those children can be cared for by these parents, if at all. That is the assessment, and in my view it comes squarely within section 38(6)."
"All parties were advised that the issue had twice been considered in March and April 2001, and rejected on the grounds that it was too expensive, and the prospects of success were not sufficiently great. That information was passed on to the Judge and relied upon. . . in his judgment.
It now appears that this information was inaccurate, and that the possibility of joint funding has never been considered, although it is understood that a clinician's panel has been convened to consider the issue and will report by 13th July.
It is accepted by the Respondents that the decision reached by the Learned Judge was reached on the basis of misleading information, and to that extent the appeal must succeed. The issue therefore arises as to what consequences should flow".
"The Cassell hospital is the resource of ultimate expertise and experience in this field, particularly for the residential psychotherapeutic assessment and treatment of parents and children as a whole family unit. Their expertise in assessing whether or not a family is treatable is unrivalled."