A judge in the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne County Court has approved the local authority’s plan to separate four siblings.
In T & H (Children), the birth parents were found to have provided care which was “was not adequate” and, as a result, the children who are aged ten, eight, five and three, had “suffered significant harm”.
Newcastle County Council applied for special guardianship orders enabling the two eldest children to be looked after by an ex-partner of their father. This would make the woman, identified in the judgment as ‘Z’, the official guardian of the children without severing the legal relationship between them and their birth parents.
The council applied to have the two younger children put up for adoption. The children’s guardian was initially concerned that one of the children would struggle “to form an attachment within an adoptive family” but, after an assessment from a social worker, became satisfied that he would be able to cope.
Her Honour Judge Moir said she was satisfied that the special guardianship orders were in the best interests of the eldest children as they were “settled within Z’s care”. She also ordered that Z and the children be supervised for twelve months, enabling the council to ensure the children’s needs were being met.
Turning to the other two children, the judge ruled that adoption was the best option for them, should a placement be found. Therefore she approved the council’s care plan for them and allowed the adoption to go ahead without their birth parents needing to approve it.
Despite being regarded as a last resort, in 2013, figures revealed that more than a third of children in foster care are taken away from their siblings.
To read the full judgment, click here.
Photo of Newcastle by Neil Thompson via Flickr