The parents of a severely disturbed “feral” child have been jailed for the way they ill-treated and neglected her.The description makes depressing, if familiar, reading:
The family’s squalid home stank of animals and was crammed with rubbish, clutter, dead and living flies and cages containing small animals, including six cages each containing two occupants in the kitchen, the court heard. Some of the animals were kept in an outside shed.
The mother screamed and shouted at the child at all times of the day and neighbours heard her crying and sobbing when she was locked in her bedroom, which the couple used as a storage area. Teachers at both the girl's infant and junior schools noticed abnormal behaviour by her.It’s disgraceful! If people don’t want children, why do they continue to have them? Why not have them adop..
Oh. Hang on.
The middle-aged couple, who live in the York area, adopted the girl when she was 11 months old.*stunned face* Even the judge couldn’t supress his disbelief:
"It is surprising that the two of you were ever approved for adoptions because it has become painfully apparent you lack many of the skills, the aptitude and the patience that is required to bring up a child," the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, told them.
"There is evidence that you (the mother) at times seemed to care more for the pets and the animals within the home than for (the child)."
Barristers for both defendants described them as "inadequate" people who had not been vindictive or evil.How were they ever approved as adoptive parents? We are constantly told that the adoption process is long, complicated and intrusive. What went wrong?
Because something went very badly wrong.
The girl was so badly damaged she now lives in a residential home because her behaviour is too extreme for her to live in a family setting, the court heard. She has failed to improve significantly.And will likely be institutionalised for the rest of her life.
Alex Menary, for the mother, said her own health had deteriorated. She lacked empathy and understanding of how her own behaviour impacted on others, and the child had been difficult to handle.How’d she pass the strict and rigorous adoption interviews then?
David Hall, for the father, said the mother had been the more dominant member of their relationship. He had been unable to respond to the child's needs and had had surgery for problems to his legs.How’d he pass the strict and rigorous adoption interviews then?
The parents obstructed attempts by social workers to see the problems inside the house. When the council employees realised its state and made repeated efforts to get the couple to remove the clutter from the house and the bolt from the top of the child's bedroom door, the father kept the child imprisoned inside the room by holding the door shut against her.Once again, people with draconian powers to ‘protect children’, powers they’ve been only too happy to use in other circumstances, have utterly failed to use them.
So why aren’t they sharing the dock with this couple?