The High Court has placed three children who had been exposed to neglect, abuse and domestic violence in the care of their grandmother.
In Royal Borough of Greenwich v JB & Ors, the children were described as having “dual heritage” as their mother is white while their father’s family originate from Jamaica.
Domestic violence was the “principal concern” of the local authority, which launched care proceedings after the children witnessed a fight between the parents which involved several other people. The grandmother claimed the children were “extremely distressed” by the incident.
It was not the first incident of this nature. In 2012, the father had been convicted of assault against the mother and three police officers involved in his arrest.
The local authority applied for care and placement orders with regard to the three children. The care order would give the local authority parental responsibility over them. The placement order would give them the right to seek permanent foster homes.
Neither the father nor the mother put themselves forward as carers for any of the children, which Her Honour Judge Laura Harris described as “a wholly realistic decision on the part of both of them”.
The paternal grandmother did not want to see the children taken away from their family so she applied to have the children placed in her care under a special guardianship order. This order would make her responsible for the children without severing the legal relationship between them and their parents.
Despite the objections from the local authority, Judge Harris ruled that the children should be placed in their grandmother’s care, saying that it was in their best interest.
The judge addressed the grandmother directly in the conclusion of her judgment. She said she hoped the children would be happy and settled with the grandmother.
That being said, Judge Harris warned the grandmother of the possibility that the parents may try to exert pressure on her regarding the children, but that she was now “the boss”.
‘Grandmother and Child’ statue by Alan Wilson, photo by mrrobertwade via Flickr