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Family Court approves HIV test for nameless child

A judge in the Family Court has approved an HIV test for a seven month old girl without a name.

In Re A Child, the local authority had applied for care and placement orders so they could put the girl up for adoption.

They sought these measures because they believed the girl would be “at risk of significant sexual and emotional harm” if she remained in her parents’ care.

The girl’s step-sister, the mother’s eldest daughter from a prior relationship, had previously been taken out of the parents’ care. This was due to the fact that she “suffered significant physical and emotional harm due to sexual assaults” by her stepfather, and her mother had failed to protect her.

Sitting at the Family Court in Leeds, Judge Lynch noted that the local authority had to register the seven month old girl’s birth with just her surname as her parents had not given her a name.

The judge approved the care and placement orders, ruling that there was a “clear risk of harm” to the girl and her “need for stability and permanence can only be met in an adoptive placement”.

In addition to seeking care and placement orders, the local authority also sought an HIV test for the child. This application was made based on the recommendation of the girl’s paediatrician, who was under the impression that the father was from Zambia: an African country with “an incredibly high HIV incidence rate”.

The father claimed he was actually from the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, this revelation did not change the doctor’s recommendation as that country also had a “much higher [incidence rate] than the norm”.

Judge Lynch ruled in favour of the local authority’s request to test the girl for HIV if the mother had not agreed to be tested within three weeks.

To read the full judgment, click here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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