Wooden spoon discipline a threat to adoption by couple
By Janet Fife-Yeomans
December 27, 2011 / thedailytelegraph.com.au
The 11-year-old boy and his eight-year-old sister considered the couple who had fostered them for four years to be their parents and called them Mum and Dad, Acting Justice William Windeyer told the Supreme Court.
The children's birth father was in jail on sex offences and their mother, who has another three children, all in care, acknowledged she could not look after them.
The judge said the foster parents were devoted to the children and were "very suitable" to adopt them.
However, Justice Windeyer said he was not satisfied there was no risk to the children and he had to take into account the possibility the boy had been hit with a wooden spoon.
The judge postponed a decision on adoption until the end of next year and said, if it was established there was smacking and the use of a wooden spoon, then the children could be removed from the couple.
The judge said the boy had behavioural, physical and mental problems.
During an interview with a clinical psychologist the boy said his foster dad hit him with a wooden spoon and it "hurt".
The man denied hitting the boy with a spoon but said he had once banged a wooden spoon on the kitchen bench to get the boy's attention when he was waving a knife around.
The man admitted twice smacking the boy "gently" - once when the boy had a "massive meltdown" and grabbed him by the testicles and a second time when the boy hit him in the ribs.
The judge said he had some sympathy for the man.
"It seems impossible where someone is in danger of injury to go for a walk to calm down. After all, the three actions did get a result and no one was harmed," the judge said.