The local authority applied for an interim care order immediately the child, B, was born. A proposal was made for the mother and child to move from the maternity hospital to a residential placement a mother and baby home which provided help in improving parents’ child care skills. The local authority was not prepared to agree to this placement and the judge did not give a section 38(6) direction.
Held: The section under the 1989 Act was designed to allow the court to obtain such information as it thought proper to help it make a decision on an application for a care order. The section gave the court a wide discretion. The court had the power to make the order requested, and that was the appropriate order. As to the proposed programme at Beacon Lodge, Thorpe LJ said: ‘one objective is to prepare women residents for independent motherhood by a process of advice, instruction and education. The assessment is ongoing and subject to continual review. Throughout assessment the mother will be made aware of areas of concern through regular key worker sessions in addition to normal contact with staff. The assessment focuses on the parents’ ability to learn and develop adequate skills and, where appropriate, independent living skills would be taught. Whilst the main focus of the work is the child, it is recognised that it is frequently the needs of the mother which must be addressed in order to meet the needs of the child.’ Buxton LJ said the court was given ‘a very broad and generous power of determination in deciding what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in respect of the assessment of the child in the interim period.’
Lord Justice Thorpe and Lord Justice Buxton
Times 29-Jan-2002, Gazette 06-Mar-2002,  1 FLR 545,  EWCA Civ 25,  1 FLR 642,  Fam Law 252,  2 FCR 367,  1 FLR 545
England and Wales
Cited – Kent County Council v G and others HL 24-Nov-2005
A residential assessment order had been made under the 1989 Act in care proceedings. When the centre recommended a second extension of the assessment, the council refused, saying that the true purpose was not the assessment of the child but the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 04 July 2022; Ref: scu.167483