A social worker advised a couple not to christen their son because it would make it harder to get the baby adopted.
The Kent county council social worker said any attempt to place the boy for adoption would be hindered if he was “christened into the Christian faith”.
Her comments have been called “regrettable” by a family court judge who has now urged the council to hold an inquiry into the incident.
At a private family court hearing in Chatham, Kent, Judge Richard Scarratt said council officials had asked the unnamed social worker to make a decision about the little’s boy’s future.
She told the parents that it would hinder adoption if the child was christened into the Christian faith.
Judge Richard Scarratt
Social services had planned to place the 15-month-old for adoption, but decided he could live with a relative.
Judge Scarratt approved the baby’s move to a relative’s home and said his parents could stay in touch with him.
The couple had said they wanted to continue to care for their son and wanted him to be christened.
But during a conversation between the social worker and the boy’s father, she said getting the baby baptised would reduce his chances of adoption. The father, who taped the conversation, complained about her conduct.
The social worker admitted what she said to the couple during a later court hearing.
Judge Scarratt said in his ruling: “She admitted ... that she had informed the parents that a christening which they wanted might reduce the pool of possible adopters. She told the parents that it would hinder adoption if the child was christened into the Christian faith.”
The judge added: “It is regrettable in my view that the social worker ... had indeed acted as the parents stated she had.”
Judge Scarratt criticised the social worker for not visiting the parents at home frequently enough when making her assessment and appearing determined to get the child adopted, rather than cared for by a relative.
He said: “I am not remotely surprised that the parents felt, when the care plan was one of adoption outside of the birth family, that the social worker was gunning for adoption – if I might put it so crudely.”
Judge Scarratt urged Kent County Council bosses to hold an internal investigation into the social worker’s conduct. He said the council had apologised to the couple but added that this had been “too late and inadequate”.
Campaigners said the social worker’s comments were typical of a tendency by some health and welfare professionals to discriminate against Christians.
Andrea Minichiello Williams of the Christian Legal Centre said: “Sadly it is not the first time we have seen an underlying hostility towards Christianity from someone in a position of responsibility for vulnerable children.”