The family court in Leeds has revoked an adoption order for a severely disabled boy.
In Re , the boy in question was born in 2008 and has lived with his foster carers since he was just 11 weeks old. The child, referred to in the judgement by the pseudonym ‘Kevin’, suffers from a host of health problems, including a “profound” learning disability, “chronic” lung disease and an unspecified neurological condition “which may well be life limiting”.
His father is not involved in his life and his mother only seems him a few times a year.
Her Honour Judge Hillier described the foster parents as “very, very special people” who have an such an close relationship with Kevin that “some may be surprised that it was ever considered sensible to move him from them.”
Nevertheless, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council in West Yorkshire were granted a ‘placement order’ in 2009 allowing them to place Kevin for adoption.
However, the following year the reviewing officer assigned to Kevin’s case concluded that it was unlikely that an adoptive family could be found for Kevin after all and that he should instead be left with his foster carers in a long term placement. By June his official care plan had been changed to reflect this. In January 2011 the Calderdale adoption board agreed that long term foster care was in Kevin’s best interests. The following month plans were made to revoke the adoption order.
However, this application was not made until June this year, more than five years after the original order was made. The Judge asked for this lengthy delay to be investigated by the council, and the authority’s service manager apologised for this, admitting that the delay had been “completely unacceptable”. It had been caused by “a combination of factors which are now impossible to clarify” she added. An investigation would be carried out into why the delay had taken place and why various departments had not adhered to set procedures and policies.
Her Honour Judge Hillier concluded that the evidence fully justified revocation of the placement order, allowing Kevin to remain in a long term placement with his foster.
“I am really pleased to record that Kevin has remained with these excellent foster carers since he was a very little boy. There has not been any significant detriment to Kevin or to his parents that this placement order has remained in place but one can imagine cases where there could have been.”
Read the full judgement here.