The Court of Appeal has confirmed a Judge’s decision to remove a two year-old from his ‘dishonest’ mother.
In S (A Child), the boy, referred to as ‘D’, was the youngest of no less than ten children. All nine of his siblings have been taken into foster care or adopted. D was removed from his mother in July last year and although she had been allowed contact with him on a supervised basis since then, the local authority sought an order allowing them to place him for adoption.
Social workers believed D would be at risk if left with his mother because his father had a conviction for sexually assaulting a nine year-old boy. He now faces further charges concerning the sexual abuse of children.
At the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Macur explained that the mother, who lives in Greater Manchester, had begun a relationship with the father, who is ten years older than her, when she was still a teenager, following a “troubled” childhood. Her seven oldest children, all fathered by the same man, were taken away from her after being neglected and suffering “serious physical and emotional harm”. The following two were removed at birth.
When the sexual allegations against the father emerged, the mother was “frankly disbelieving and angry”, said her Ladyship, “at what she perceived to be malicious lies”. Nevertheless, she signed an agreement with the local authority stating that she would not allow the father to see D without supervision by social workers, but breached this. When she broke a second agreement and set up home with the father, D was taken into foster care.
At the Family Court, a Judge said the likelihood that the mother would allow her partner access to D was “very high indeed”, leaving the toddler exposed to the risk of sexual abuse.
The mother appealed, arguing that she had been “wrongly deprived of an opportunity to demonstrate a sea-change in her parenting abilities and her capacity as a sole carer.”
But Lady Justice Macur said the Court of Appeal agreed with the earlier ruling, by Her Honour Judge Newton, saying the risks to the D were simply too great and highlighting the mother’s “lack of insight [into the father’s behaviour] and attendant dishonesty”.
Judge Newton had stated her reasons clearly and it was not possible to categorize these as wrong, said her Ladyship.
Read the judgement here.