A man in his early 30s with severe autism had been in the care of his foster mum since the age of two. She also fostered babies with learning difficulties. A baby died in her care and this was investigated by the authorities.
During the investigation the man was placed in respite care, without any formal procedures being followed. His foster mum was prevented from visiting him. After a number of calls she was told she could bring him a present on his birthday, but when she turned up she was not permitted to see him. He began to get very unwell due to stress and 5 months after being separated from his foster mum he was admitted to hospital.
The man wouldn’t let the doctors treat him and an advocate became involved. She argued that his right to respect for family life was not being respected as his foster mum was to all intents and purposes his mum. She also raised concerns about his right to liberty given the informal nature of the separation. A social worker told her ‘well, now he’s out we might as well keep him out as he’d have to move sometime’ referring to the fact that his foster mum was in her 60s. After being supported by his advocate he was returned to the care of his foster mum and the authorities admitted that there had never been any concerns regarding her treatment of him. They admitted he’d been forgotten in the system and the service manager went to his home to apologise and learnt to say sorry in Makaton.
His advocate said that the positive outcome was a direct result of her heavily using the Human Rights Act in advocating for him, ‘human rights absolutely made a difference.’
POhWER is an independent advocacy agency. POhWER provides Generic advocacy, including non-instructed advocacy in Hertfordshire, Independant Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) in the East of England, West Midlands and London regions and Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) services in 10 areas across London, East of England, West and East Midlands. PoHWER's mission is to give power to your voice.