I take your point about the children. However, to me the hedgehogs are a major priority in the equation. There must surely be other ways to educate children than to release hedgehogs into an area foreign to them, where there is the potential that they simply may not survive. Children could be shown hedgehogs and they could still be released into their own home areas. However, I do appreciate that you were attempting to do some good and likely did – for the children and their potential future interactions with hedgehogs in general.
I know little about wobbly hedgehog syndrome, not being a hedgehog carer/rehabilitator, but feel certain that the experts who collaborated to create the advice about releasing hedgehogs, would have taken any such genetic diseases into account when they prepared their advice.
There is the potential that any group of hedgehogs released may interbreed within that group (depending on whether there were males and females, of course) especially if by chance there wasn’t already a population of hedgehogs in the release area. That may make any genetic problem worse. Conversely if there was a population of hedgehogs already in the area, introducing hedgehogs with a potential genetic problem could be introducing that genetic problem to a new community, thus spreading it amongst the wild hedgehog population. As I understand it, these are some of the problems that the advice is trying to avoid.
All I can say is, should the situation arise again, or if others find themselves in a similar situation, PLEASE everyone, think twice and read and follow the advice from BHPS on releasing hedgehogs http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/BHPS-Guidance-For-relasing-Rehabilitated-Hedgehogs.pdf If after reading that you still feel unsure you could contact the BHPS and take their advice.
As said, I do appreciate you were trying to do something good. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with circumstances and forget to think of the potential negative repercussions. What has been done cannot be undone. What’s important is what happens in the future – following the guidance of the hedgehog experts and the BHPS regarding release of rehabilitated hedgehogs in the future seems to me to be a pretty good place to start.