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Monday, 13 March 2017

Family court judge warns over drug use amid 'pitiful plight' of mother

Written by Brian Farmer

A family court judge has warned of the damage drugs can do after ruling that four children whose mother was an addict by the time she turned 20 must go into council care.

Judge Stephen Wildblood said impressionable teenagers may think that drug taking was "cool".

But he said it could lead to "ruination".

The judge issued a warning in a ruling after analysing the woman's case at a private family court hearing in Bristol.

He said neither the woman, who is in her late thirties, nor her children, who are aged between three and their early teens, could be identified.

But he said Bath and North East Somerset Council had responsibilities for the welfare of her children and had asked him to make decisions about their futures.

"I have anonymised this judgment deliberately," said Judge Wildblood.

"It shows the truly pitiful plight of a mother caught up in drug addiction."

The judge said the woman was "attractive, polite and intelligent".

He said she readily acknowledged that she had "gone off the rails" and had "let her children down".

"This case is a very clear example of the damage that drugs can do," added Judge Wildblood.

"The damage that is done through drug distribution can be seen in the decimation of this family.

"What to some vulnerable or impressionable people may seem cool in their teens or early twenties leads to this dreadful type of picture in later life.

"I hope that there is sufficient education so that this type of potential ruination is known."

He said he wanted the woman's children to know that nothing that had happened to them was their fault.

"Their mother loves them hugely but has just not been able to care for them in the way that she wants," he said.

"She has had enormous difficulties in her own life and I hope that they will view her with the same sympathy that I do."

Judge Wildblood said the woman had been addicted to class A drugs since she was at least 20.

Two of the children had been born with drug withdrawal symptoms.

He said the woman had accepted that she could not care for the children at present.

The judge said the oldest child would live with a foster carer and the three youngest would be placed for adoption.

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