A Lancashire couple separated a little boy from his six brothers and sisters because they felt that he “did not fit into the family,” a High Court judge heard.
They decided to live as a “divided family” with the mother and six children occupying one room and the father and little boy occupying another, Mrs Justice Russell was told.
The little boy, now five, was “largely confined” to a room with a gate placed across the doorway.
He shared his father’s meals.
Mrs Justice Russell said the little boy must have suffered “significant emotional harm”.
She said the depth of that harm might not become apparent until he was older.
Detail of the little boy’s treatment has emerged in a written ruling by the judge following a hearing in a family court in Manchester.
The judge ruled that all seven children - aged between 13 and three - should be taken into care.
She said all had probably suffered “significant and long-lasting harm” as a result of their parents’ care. Mrs Justice Russell did not identify the couple but said they had lived in Burnley and Blackpool.
And the judge said the local authority with responsibility for the children was Lancashire County Council.