Teenage mother’s appeal against adoption of her child is dismissed

Children|News|November 28th 2013

A teenage mother has lost her appeal against the adoption of her child.

In Re D, the girl had given birth at the age of 19 while living in foster care.  She had been moved on to new placements frequently due to her behaviour. Eventually she moved into her own flat but magistrates said she had not yet demonstrated that she could provide a stable home for her child, or even that she could live independently.

The baby was placed with prospective adopters while the girl applied for permission to oppose the adoption, arguing that her circumstances had changed. The judge was unconvinced, saying that while there was evidence she made changes to her lifestyle, she had failed to begin counselling and had also assaulted a police offer while under the influence of drink. Meanwhile the child had settled with the adoptive family. The judge refused her application and she appealed.

But, sitting at the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Moses, Lady Justice Black and Lady Justice Gloster were unsympathetic to her arguments, saying the earlier judge had been entitled to come to conclusions he did. He had weighed evidence of the mother’s efforts against that her of immaturity and had been entitled to conclude that she would not be able to persuade a court that she could look after a baby.

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  1. Paul says:

    Nowhere in any of this does a natural father feature, neither of a basket case mother nor of her baby. Attention is only drawn to a succession of abusive and violent men who no doubt helped to scupper this hapless mother’s chances of keeping her child. Thus fatherlessness begets more fatherlessness. It’s a virtual given in a case like this.

    Having said that, the woman took steps to pull herself together. Why not wait another six months or a year before pulling the plug on her? Now the child has no natural parent at all in her life. What does that do for you in later life, I wonder?

  2. Luke says:

    “Why not wait another six months or a year before pulling the plug on her?”

    I agree, why would they not give them that chance ?

  3. Andrew says:

    Because six months is a long time in the life of so young a child. She had a lot of chances and blew them. Enough is enough. Put the child first.

    We are not told anything about the father – if indeed the mother can identify him.

    Not much of an advert for the amusingly-named “care” system, is she?

  4. Luke says:

    Well Andrew I think I am putting the child first – which is why I think putting the baby with foster parents whilst the mother is further evaluated is an excellent idea to see if the mother can sufficiently reform to retain care of the baby.

    Where I live they have a foster situation where both the baby and the mother are put into a foster home and the foster mother effectively ‘trains’ the young troubled mothers.
    This is the sort of solution that should be universally run – we should not underestimate the biological link .

  5. Andrew says:

    Luke, this child needs stability in long-term care with the same people in the same place, with as near as approach to certainty as the human condition permits that there will be no further change. Your idea sounds visionary until you realise that it does not give that degree of permanence, and in any event it is likely to lead to further change for the child. The less pass-the-parcel goes on the better for the child. Biology is more important to the mother than it is to the child, and as I am concerned for the child in preference to the mother I don’t put her “needs” too high.

  6. vob re says:

    Well said Luke, you have have said it in a ‘nutshell’
    do not under estimate the ‘ biological link’ it can never be erased. You can put in place all the practicalities when removing a child, this pares into insignificance when a child is denied regular contact with the biological family dysfunctional or otherwise. Why i wonder are all these so called learned professionals not looking at the figures of failure rates in adoption and fostering ?
    At least we have one MP John Hemming s fighting this
    inhumane child trafficking.

  7. Luke says:

    “Biology is more important to the mother than it is to the child”

    Umm… that would be a no.

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