Grandmother wins right to appeal against care order for her grandson

Children|Family|Family Law|News|September 16th 2013

A grandmother has won permission to appeal against a care and placement order for her grandson. Placement orders are legal permission to place children with prospective adopters.

In C (A Child), the grandmother had applied for a ‘special guardianship’ order, with the support of the boy’s parents. Issued under the Children Act 1989, special guardianship orders provide children with a secure placement without breaking the legal relationship between them and their parents.

Meanwhile, the London Borough of Sutton – the family’s local authority – wanted the child, called ‘J’ in case reports, to be adopted, a move supported by the boy’s legal guardian. The original judge ruled in in favour of adoption and the grandmother appealed.

Lord Justice McFarlane, sitting at the Court of Appeal, looked to the precedents set by the recent Supreme Court decision in Re B (A Child). That case had stressed the need for the courts to give due consideration to human rights and only permanently remove children from their biological families when it is ‘necessary’ to do so.

The original judge had not properly evaluated whether her ruling in favour of the local authority was ‘necessary’ in that way, the Lord Justice concluded. She had also not explained how it was in the child’s best interests to ignore the wishes of his biological parents, as required by law. He noted:

“… Parliament and case law stress that a judge must be satisfied that the parents’ consent to adoption should be dispensed with because the child’s welfare ‘requires’ that.”

In addition, the original judge, at Croydon County Court, had not investigated the support that would be available to the grandmother or properly weighed up the benefits of adoption against the ‘detriments’.

The care and placement orders were put on hold pending a full appeal.

Lord Justice McFarlane told the court:

“I am told, and readily accept, that J is moving fairly swiftly through the adoption process and that prospective adopters may have been identified and the case may be going to panel in the near future…. it must be plain as a pikestaff that we must determine this appeal as soon as possible.”

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(5)

  1. Luke says:

    Well done Lord Justice McFarlane in querying this decision, we have to be VERY sure that it is a necessary decision for adoption to take place.

  2. vob says:

    I could not agree more with the above comment. It is appalling how children are taken unnecessarily from their biological roots.
    The government is investing money for therapies for removed children; no amount of therapy will remove innate characteristics or the profound feelings of loss a child will feel , it cannot be replaced by well meaning adopters who in
    turn will feel the loss of abandonment when all their efforts
    will result in the child finding their true roots .
    Research has shown the best place for children is to remain with family members . Adoption failures are already high and
    will increase with social media.

  3. Name Witheld says:

    The X Borough of X also want to place my 19 month old baby daughter for adoption they have ruled out all the family and even my sister who is a support worker with 22 years experience in working for the same authority and working with vulnerable adults with learning disabilities my sister has qualifications in NNEB Nursey Nurse Examination Board and Health and Social Care. yet Xs Children Services falsyfied her medical reports and changed dates and accused her of having depression they then stated for months that her special guardianship was looking positive but changed their minds at the last minute.

  4. Name Witheld says:

    my 3 year old grandson is being placed for adoption even though we as grandparents are desperate to have him, we have a good home and background. my Grandsons Parents were drug users and neglected my grandson emotionly my husband found the intrusive questions on assessment hard to cope with and said he did not wish to continue with the assessments, example (have you got anything in place for when you are no longer around) we are 60 years old. A court date is due for the placement order our son finds it difficult to attend he was agreeable for us to attend the hearing we have been told no we are not allowed, it seems only his parents who are vulnerable themselves can attend the hearing we are desperate can anyone offer advice on this. We are in a position where we could lose our grandson.

  5. SD says:

    My 5 year old grandaughter has a placement order my viability assessment was negative as I smoke and do not agree my grandaughter is at serious risk of harm I do agree she should remain with the foster family whilst her parents sort them selves out but not the finality of adoption can you help?

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