A ten week old baby has been placed for adoption after her parents failed to change their lifestyles.
In Re LRP, the baby was placed in care shortly after her birth following serious findings against the father. The couple’s first two children had been taken into care and placed for adoption after a court found that the father posed a significant risk of harm and had unhealthy sexual attitudes. Serious findings of a sexual nature had also been made against the man’s step-father.
Sitting in the Family Division, Mrs Justice Pauffley said the mother, meanwhile, was “unable to identify and thereafter respond appropriately to the risk of harm; that she does not accept [her partner] poses a risk of harm to her, children or other adults.”
As a result, she was “unable to make any kind of break between herself, [her partner] and his family.”
After the birth of the couple’s third child, the mother and baby lived in a special foster placement but she returned home after just 11 days, leaving the baby behind, and had only visited her since.
A social worker concluded that the baby could not feasibly be protected if she went back home with her parents. The social worker said she was concerned that ”even although the parents have had ample opportunity…to demonstrate a real commitment to achieving change, they have failed to do so.”
Mrs Justice Pauffley noted that neither of the parents were in court, saying:
“It is… extremely unusual for the parents of any child to absent themselves from court proceedings at which orders leading to adoption will be sought.”
Foster care would not be a suitable choice for the baby, the judge concluded, saying “a long term foster child does not have the same and enduring sense of belonging within a family as does a child who has been adopted.”
She granted final care and placement for adoption orders for the girl, dispensing with the normal need to obtain the consent of the parents, under section 52(1) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. This states that:
“The court cannot dispense with the consent of any parent or guardian of a child to the child being placed for adoption or to the making of an adoption order in respect of the child unless the court is satisfied that—
(a)the parent or guardian cannot be found or is incapable of giving consent, or
(b)the welfare of the child requires the consent to be dispensed with.”