Depression case child to be adopted

Herald Series: A baby with a depressed father should be adopted, a High Court judge has ruled. A baby with a depressed father should be adopted, a High Court judge has ruled.

A man who suffers from "significant" depression has had a fourth child taken from his care after a family court judge concluded that he posed a risk.

Judge Sarah Lynch said "very serious concerns" had been raised about the man's "pattern of behaviour" and pointed to a history of "impatience, temper, verbal and physical violence" towards his children.

But she described the man as "caring and conscientious", said the risk he posed was "not his fault", and said he was in a "tragic" situation.

Detail of the case has emerged in a written ruling by Judge Lynch following a hearing in Leeds County Court.

"The father's problems then are in simple terms both depression and anger/emotion management. His depression is significant, being in the moderate to severe range," said Judge Lynch in her ruling, which has been published on a legal website.

"Having considered all the evidence I have read and heard, I am satisfied that the father would pose a risk to a child in his care in the future and that will remain the case until he addresses his psychological problems."

But she added: "Can I make very clear though that the risk the father poses is not his fault, as I am sure he feels it is. We are all the product of our upbringing and of the lives we have led and the father cannot be criticised for having the problems he does. He struck me as a caring and conscientious man and it is tragic that he finds himself in this situation."

And she said with help and treatment he might be able to be a "good father" to another child.

Social workers had asked Judge Lynch make decisions about the future of the man's six-month-old son.

Judge Lynch ruled that the child should be adopted.

The judge said the mother of the little boy, who was her first child, also suffered from depression.

Concerns had been raised about the mother's ability to protect her son from being harmed by his father, said Judge Lynch.

And said she was troubled by the couple's lack of ability to manage money and about their lack of motivation to address housing difficulties.

Judge Lynch said the man had three older children - "none of whom" were in his care.

The judge said two of the older children lived with their mother and the third was believed to have been adopted.

She said none of the people involved could be identified - but named Wakefield Metropolitan District Council as the local authority with responsibility for the welfare of the six-month-old boy.

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