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Manchester Jewish Boy’s Care Home Proposal Breached Human Rights

March 8, 2021

A disabled Jewish teenager’s human rights were breached when he was offered respite care at a non-Jewish residential home, a judge has ruled.

The boy lives in an orthodox Haredi Jewish community and was offered the placement by Manchester City Council.

The judge said there would be “significant interference” with his religious freedom and ruled the move “unlawful”.

The teenager’s family argued he should have been sent to a place in London.

Manchester City Council has been asked to comment by the BBC.

Judge Stephen Davies heard how the plan would have seen the boy spend 12 weeks at the local home, including Sabbath and Passover.

The teenager’s family had hoped he would be placed in a more appropriate orthodox Jewish residential home in the capital, which would have allowed him to continue following his religious practices, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The council prepared a care plan which would allow him to “manifest his faith as far as was considered practicable”, the High Court hearing was told.

‘Significant restrictions’

The court heard solicitors had said the family “would likely reach breaking point” unless longer respite care could be given at a culturally appropriate home.

The council had not objected to the London placement on cost grounds but felt it would have meant limited contact with his family.

This “could prejudice his chance of staying with his family long term”, the court heard.

The local authority suggested that a kosher diet would be provided for the boy as part of the placement.

But the Manchester home did not allow a mashgiach, an adviser who ensures food is produced to kosher requirements, to supervise every meal – only Sabbath meals on Friday and Saturday.

The council claimed it would be “unsettling” for other children but Judge Davies said there was no “evidence” for that.

In his judgement he said: “It is plain that there would be significant interference with A’s religious freedom and his family and private life.

“It cannot be necessary for the protection of A’s health or that of his family that he must attend [the Manchester home] and suffer these significant restrictions, when there are alternatives – such as his attending [the London home] instead or through the provision of support staff at home.”

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