Care proceedings involving mental health issues with parent and children

Children – Public Law

29 November 2023

Mike acted for a mother who had a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder, as did her three children, whom she had been home schooling.

The case was brought when the oldest child developed more serious problems requiring specialist care, involved Mike in obtaining expert psychological assessment of his client and the children, and was carried out over several lengthy contested hearings.

Central to this case was Mike’s understanding of the mental health issues affecting his adult client and how they impact on their ability to parent, and the individual special needs of the children.

On a practical level, managing a client with this type of mental health issues takes particular patience and understanding. The particular challenges inherent in the condition can make the process of taking statements unusually lengthy, and managing client’s responses and expectations requires particular sensitivity. Mike’s holistic understanding of the condition also helped him to manage his client in the court room setting – there is a delicate balance to ensuring that a client behaves in accordance with court room procedures, whilst also meeting their particular needs.

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