Tuesday 26 March 2019

Girl (4) brought up in 'utter chaos' had to be taught how to chew

(Stock Image)
(Stock Image)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A girl aged four brought up in an "utterly chaotic" environment by her parents had to be taught how to chew food when placed into foster care, a High Court judge has said.

The youngster did not know how to eat solid food and would go for days without speaking, Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles heard.

She would also detach herself from reality and dissociate in the persona of "Princess Sparkle".

A child psychologist told the judge that "Princess Sparkle" was an "imaginary safe figure" the girl used to "avoid emotional pain".

Mrs Justice Knowles said a foster carer had described the youngster as "the most traumatised child" she had looked after.

Detail of the girl's case has emerged in a written ruling published by the judge following a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The judge said the girl had been at the centre of a dispute between her parents.

She had made a number of decisions relating to the youngster's welfare.

The judge indicated that council social services bosses had begun separate litigation which might see the girl permanently removed from the care of her parents.

Mrs Justice Knowles said the girl could not be identified in media reports of the case.

She has not named the council with responsibility for the girl's welfare.

"(The girl's) very experienced foster carer... said she was the most traumatised child she had cared for," said Mrs Justice Knowles in her ruling.

"On first being placed, (she) would go for days without speaking and did not know how to eat solid food.

"She had to be taught how to chew food."

The psychologist had told of the girl's "unusual psychological presentation".

Mrs Justice Knowles said the psychologist's evidence about the girl's "dissociation into the persona of Princess Sparkle" was "striking and persuasive".

The judge said "Princess Sparkle" was "hypothesised" to be an "imaginary safe figure" the girl turned to when upset in order to "detach herself from and to avoid emotional pain".

She added: "Without ascribing blame to one parent or the other, there is ample evidence of the utterly chaotic environment to which (she) was exposed throughout her life by both her parents."

Mrs Justice Knowles said the girl's father came from Iran and her mother from Russia, and were separated.

The judge indicated that the girl had lived with her parents in Spain.

Her parents had a "tempestuous relationship", she said.

The girl's father claimed that he met her mother when he "engaged her services as a prostitute". Her mother denied his claim.

She accused him of being a drug dealer who was "physically and sexually" violent.

The girl had travelled to England with her mother some months ago.

Social workers became concerned and the girl had been placed into foster care pending decisions about her long-term future.

The girl's father wanted her to be returned to Spain.

Mrs Justice Knowles refused his application.

Press Association

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