The ten month-old son of a Romanian woman with schizophrenia should be adopted, the Family Court has ruled.
In X (A Child: Care & Placement Applications), the boy was born “very premature at 28 weeks”. He weighed only one kilogram and spent his first two months in hospital. As a result of his premature birth, he developed significant health issues which included chronic lung disease.
He was placed in foster care shortly after leaving hospital but still required constant care to assist his breathing.
Newcastle County Council applied for care and placement orders, which would allow them to put the child up for adoption. They made such an application because they believed the boy’s family “simply cannot meet [his] health needs”, primarily as a result of the mother’s schizophrenia diagnosis in November 2012. Her condition had “only been intermittently stable” since then. A psychiatrist who consulted on the case said the mother “would not be able safely to meet the needs of a child” should she have another relapse.
The mother and her parents all objected to the council’s application. They said that the boy, identified only as ‘X’ in the judgment, should live with them. As neither the mother nor the grandmother spoke any English, and the grandfather’s command of the language was not much better, they relied on a team of five translators.
Sitting at the Family Court in Newcastle, His Honour Judge Simon Wood said that a child living with his biological family was “invariably the best option” when it comes to deciding care. However, despite the mother’s numerous visits to her son at his foster placement, she and the rest of her family had “failed to establish a relationship with X”, the judge added.
The local authority emphasised the importance of a relationship between a mother and child, and characterised it as “a universal need that any baby has”, which the mother had failed to meet.
X “will be at risk of suffering harm” if he is not placed with people who are able to care for him properly, Judge Wood said before he granted the council’s application to put the boy up for adoption.
To read the full judgment, click here.
Photo of Newcastle upon Tyne by Rob Bishop via Wikipedia