The daughter of troubled parents should be put up for adoption, a Family Court judge has ruled.
In H & Ors (Children), Essex County Council had launched care proceedings against the mother of three children due to her history of alcohol and cocaine abuse. The father of her youngest child, identified as ‘D’ in the judgment, had “a criminal and violent history of some 30 years”. D was taken into care shortly after her birth, and the council subsequently applied for care and placement orders. These would allow them to put D up for adoption.
The parents objected to the local authority’s plans and sought the return of D to their care. They claimed that they would be aided by their mothers in raising the child. However, a social worker who worked on the case “did not think that either or both grandmothers could be relied on to make [D] safe”.
Sitting at the Family Court in Chelmsford, Her Honour Judge Lynn Roberts accepted the assessment of the social worker. She said that neither grandmother could be trusted to inform the proper authorities should D’s parents slip back into drug and alcohol abuse or violence.
The judge said that the child’s rights “must take priority if they are in conflict with those of her parents”. She declared that, although the parents evidently loved D, “the risks [of harm] are too great” to leave her in their care. Therefore, she granted the council’s request and made care and placement orders for D.
In the same ruling, Judge Roberts made child arrangement orders which placed the mother’s two eldest children, aged six and three, in the care of their father and his new partner.
To read the full judgment, click here.
Photo by greenacre8 via Flickr