Local authorities have to ensure that children living in their area are properly cared for, and it is only right that compensation should be paid if they fail to match up to their legal duties. In one High Court case, a teenager who endured an awful start to life in the care of her birth mother won £80,000 in compensation.
The girl's lawyers argued that she had suffered psychiatric injury and neglect as a result of being left in the care of her mother, who was incapable of looking after her, until she reached the age of five. She had eventually been taken into care before being placed with foster parents, who had in due course adopted her.
The council denied that it had delayed unreasonably in removing the girl from her mother's home or in finding a stable placement for her. However, her lawyers succeeded in negotiating a financial settlement of the case. In approving the compromise, the Court expressed admiration for her adoptive family's wonderful work in ensuring her long-term welfare. It sanctioned the expenditure of £5,000 of the total award on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday for the girl and her family.