Assessments for boy in care confused about gender – 2015vol3#26

A review of a Care Order of a young boy heard that he was experiencing confusion as to his gender and that he had been referred to a psychiatrist who would be doing an assessment and a referral had also been made to an endocrinologist.

The CFA solicitor said that the boy had said that he wished to see his mother and that the CFA would be looking at the possibility of access but it would depend on the boy’s response to it. A social worker said that the plan was to have a minimum of four access visits per year. The boy would continue to meet his art therapist and would have appointments with a psychiatrist and endocrinologist. Further appointments with a specialist group dealing with the issues of gender identity could be arranged if necessary.

The social worker said that on the last court day the boy had gone to an art therapist who had told him about the Care Order being granted. The social worker said that he was very happy and that he had called his foster parents Mummy and Daddy. The social worker said that he had called out to discuss contact with his mother and said that “it was like meeting a different child. He was calm and relaxed and he was very positive.” He said that he got clear information from the boy and that they had played football.

The social worker said that after speaking to the boy’s foster carers he had been told that the boy was a bit dis-regulated and had been speaking about happy memories but also had some nightmares. The boy’s headmaster said that he was a bit astray over the past few weeks but that might be explained by the summer holidays which were approaching.

The social worker said that a social care leader, who specialises in access and promoting contact between parents and children, would go through any fears that the boy had in relation to access. The social worker also said that it was possible that another application could be made for further assistance for the boy from a special needs assistant (SNA) and said that it was important that this child gets as much support as possible in the future.

His guardian ad litem said that it was clear that the boy wanted to meet his mother but that the boy could also become dis-regulated before and after access visits. His foster parents had indicated that he had coped well but in the days after the access had become somewhat dis-regulated. She described an incident where he had hit his own head and said “I hate my life” suddenly and dramatically.

The guardian ad litem said that the boy really wanted to see his mum, but he also had anxiety about seeing her and the mother also appeared to be anxious as it had been some time (since access had occurred). The guardian thought that access needed to be taken carefully and the boy was still making sense of his foster placement. She said that she thought it was essential that access between the boy and his mother took place as he mentions things about his mum, for example saying that he hoped she did not smoke. She said that she thought it was very important that it happen and that it was important to take it gently. She said she thought that the mother was willing to do all she could to make it a positive experience.

The guardian ad litem said that there was a need for support to be given to the foster parents as the boy’s needs were complex and the foster parents were responding to those needs on a daily basis. There are some challenging things to respond to such as the boy exposing himself from an upstairs window but no incidents such as this had occurred in some time. When the judge asked the guardian whether the level of access met the boy’s needs, she responded that she thought these would change for him over time and it may be necessary to increase the access.

The judge praised the social workers and the guardian ad litem. He said that although one of the social worker’s views had been that the boy just needed to be allowed to be a child, the judge had sympathy for that view but also felt that he had complex psychiatric needs and gender identity issues and that further psychiatric involvement would be needed and he was pleased that this was underway. The judge had said that he had hoped that a Care Order would give the boy a sufficient sense of reassurance to meet his mother and that he very much hoped that his access with his mother would “allay considerable anxieties for his mother’s welfare as well as his.