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X (A Child) (No 6) [2018] EWHC 1005 (Fam)

Further judgment by the President in care proceedings concerning a 'very disturbed' teenager.

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWHC 1005 (Fam)
Case number omitted


Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 2 May 2018

Before :


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In the matter of X (A Child) (No 6)
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No hearing : case dealt with on paper
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Judgment Approved
This judgment was handed down in open court

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division :
1. This is a very short coda to a case in which I have already given five judgments: In re X (A Child) (Jurisdiction: Secure Accommodation), In re Y (A Child) (Jurisdiction: Secure Accommodation) [2016] EWHC 2271 (Fam), [2017] Fam 80, [2017] 2 FLR 1717, Re X (A Child) (No 2) [2017] EWHC 1585 (Fam), [2018] 1 FLR 1041, Re X (A Child) (No 3) [2017] EWHC 2036 (Fam), [2018] 1 FLR 1054, Re X (A Child) (No 4) [2017] EWHC 2084 (Fam), [2018] 1 FLR 1072, and Re X (A Child) (No 5) [2017] EWHC 2141 (Fam).

2. I need not repeat the facts. It suffices for present purposes to recall that X was a very disturbed teenager, excessively prone to self-harming behaviour, including many suicide attempts. Eventually, on 10 August 2017, X was transferred, in accordance with section 47 of the Mental Health Act 1983, from the wholly unsuitable secure accommodation in which she had previously been detained under a detention and training order imposed by the Youth Court to the clinical setting of a Tier 4 (adolescent) low secure unit at ZZ which she so desperately needed.

3. As I made clear, and for the reasons I explained (Re X (A Child) (No 5) [2017] EWHC 2141 (Fam), para 8), "The decision as to whether X should remain at ZZ is one for the responsible clinicians or the First Tier Tribunal."

4. Mr Michael Jones, who it will be recalled appeared before me for the local authority, has kept me informed of developments since then, for which helpful initiative on his part I am most grateful.

5. I do not propose to go into detail. Suffice it to say that on 14 January 2018 Mr Jones was able to report that X's progress over the past few months had been, on the whole, very positive, that he saw her current situation as "a huge improvement", and that planning was underway for her discharge from ZZ later that month.

6. A further report from Mr Jones on 25 March 2018 set out that X had returned home on 1 February 2018 and been formally discharged from ZZ on 6 February 2018. He went on to summarise the package of support being provided for X by the local authority and other agencies, and the progress she was making. He quoted professionals and X's mother reporting X as being "happy, calm and settled", "brilliant … like the old X", "fine … in good spirits", "happy and well". He added this comment of his own:

"Given the situation the Court faced last year, … it is fair to say that her progress having accessed the treatment she so desperately needed, has been nothing short of phenomenal."

7. The most recent report from Mr Jones, on 27 April 2018, is also positive. Though there have been a couple of ups and downs, X continues, with encouragement, to engage positively with the various professionals involved in her package of support. When visited last week, she is reported as having appeared in good spirits. However, she still requires ongoing support from the network of professionals involved.

8. Comment is superfluous, except to congratulate X on what she has achieved and to wish her the very best for the future.

9. I cannot help wondering where X would be today if she had not, in the nick of time, received the appropriate clinical assistance she so desperately needed. That said, I leave it to others to ponder the moral of this story.