In MF v LB of Brent & Ors, the boy, referred to as P-M, was placed with a foster carer – ‘Ms D’ – at the age of four months. Four years later, he went to live with his paternal aunt and uncle but the arrangement did not work out and he went back to live with Ms D, who had stayed in touch.
Later the local authority agreed to make the placement with Ms D permanent. At a High Court hearing, Lord Justice Ryder granted a full adoption order in favour of Ms D, but also ruled in favour of an application for contact by the boy’s grandmother. The grandmother, called ‘Ms F’, already cared for the boy’s sister and half brother and had an existing arrangement for contact with P-M once a month but wanted a formal legal order. However Ms D said she thought this was too frequent, fearing that the contact “would in effect generate a life of its own, with which she could not cope.”
After carefully considering the precedents, the judge concluded that:
“… P-M’s welfare throughout his life requires the maintenance of a relationship with his maternal grandmother and sister through whom there will be a relationship with his extended birth family. Those relationships are important but must take second place to the primary relationship of parent and child which is the relationship between Ms D and P-M. The contact should contribute to the reassurance and stability of P-M i.e. his feeling of identity without creating a risk of disruption.”
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