Parental mental illness does not indicate an inability to be a successful parent. It does not mean that your child is viewed as at definite risk of harm solely because you have been classified as mentally ill.

However, statistically speaking, where a parent is suffering chronic or severe mental health problems, the children are more likely to be at risk of significant harm: a study of 100 child deaths as a result of abuse or neglect showed clear evidence of parental mental illness in one-third of cases.

“If anyone had seen
this case at the
beginning, they
wouldn’t have
touched it, as
I didn’t stand a
chance of winning.
Your hard work,
commitment and
support over the
last year led to
the right result.”Our client, Naomi

A child is considered at risk of suffering significant harm or of having their wellbeing adversely affected, where the child:

  • Features within parental delusions;
  • Is involved in his/her parent’s obsessive-compulsive behaviours;
  • Becomes a target for parental aggression or rejection;
  • Has caring responsibilities inappropriate to his/her age;
  • May witness disturbing behaviour arising from the mental illness;
  • Is neglected physically and/or emotionally by an unwell parent;
  • Does not live with the unwell parent, but has contact.

Where a pregnant mother has previously been diagnosed with a severe mental disorder, the unborn child is equally considered to be at risk where the illness has included disorders of schizophrenic, any affective or schizo-affective type; also severe personality disorders involving known risk or harm to self and/ or others.

What Types of Parental Mental Illness Give Rise to Concerns for the Child?

A parent’s ability to adequately care for their child may be affected by the following, giving rise to increased concerns over a child suffering or being at risk of suffering significant harm:

  • History of mental health problems with an impact on the sufferer’s functioning;
  • Un-managed mental health problems with an impact on the sufferer’s functioning;
  • Maladaptive coping strategies;
  • Misuse of drugs, alcohol or medication;
  • Severe eating disorders;
  • Self harming or suicidal behaviour;
  • Lack of insight into illness and impact on the child, or insight is not applied;
  • Non-compliance with treatment;
  • Poor engagement with services;
  • Previous or current compulsory admissions to mental health units;
  • Disorder deemed long-term “untreatable”, or untreatable within timescales compatible with the child’s best interests;
  • Mental health problems combined with domestic abuse and/or relationship difficulties;
  • Mental health problems combined with isolation and/or poor support networks;
  • Mental health problems combined with criminal offending;
  • Non-identification of the illness by professionals;
  • Previous referrals to Children’s Social Care for other children.
Contact Us Now

Brendan Fleming Solicitors are nationally recognized as a leading choice in the area of care work. We are justifiably proud of our expertise and our success rate. We are contracted to the Legal Services Commission for this type of work and are considered to be one of the leading national firms for publicly funded services.

Our principal, Brendan Fleming, has won a reputation for his innovative approach, spearheading many new ways of securing justice for families caught in the care proceedings trap. He is a member of a select children’s panel and recognized and approved by the Law Society.

If you need a Care Proceedings Solicitor to help you, contact Brendan Fleming today.

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Brendan Fleming Solicitors
165 Newhall Street BirminghamWMB3 1SW UK 
 • 0121 683 5000
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