A judge has ruled that a toddler whose parents are brother and sister can be put up for adoption.
The child, who was identified only as ‘J’, was born in 2012. His mother was 13 at the time she became pregnant. The father was 15.
Sitting at the High Court in Belfast, Mr Justice O’Hara said the mother in the “depressing” and “hugely unsatisfactory” case was “a very vulnerable young girl”.
The court heard details of her “exceptionally difficult life”, which involved numerous encounters with social services due to concerns regarding her parents and siblings.
The judge said it was “hard to identify any positive life experience” the mother had.
Both the mother and J were taken into care shortly after the birth.
The health trust involved in the case applied for a ‘freeing order’, as they believed adoption was in the child’s best interests.
A freeing order is made in order to clear the path for a child to be adopted. They are usually applied for by local authorities. These orders are usually made with the biological parent’s consent. They can also be made if a parent is judged to lack the capacity to consent.
A consulting psychiatrist said the mother “not in a position to fully understand” the implications and consequences of any decision she might make.
The judge added that the mother was “undoubtedly capable of making some decisions” but not on the scale and importance of this one. He therefore ruled that her agreement to a freeing order was not necessary.
Photo of Belfast, Northern Ireland by Bea y Fredi via Flickr