The foster parents of two siblings have been made their permanent carers despite the objections of the children’s Turkish father.
His Honour Judge Duggan granted Blackpool Borough Council’s request for such an order after ruling that it would not be in the children’s best interests to live with their father.
The children’s mother was a woman from Blackpool who met the father over the internet in 2007. Family life was divided between England and Turkey, although as the father could not permanently move to England, their son and daughter stayed primarily with the mother.
The local authority raised concerns about the mother’s care for her children when her daughter was found to be “unkempt and hungry”. Additionally, the girl “could not communicate and her behaviour was uncontrolled”.
Once the children were taken into care by the council, the mother accepted that her care had been “inadequate” and that she should not be involved in raising them. However, the father applied to be named sole carer for both children.
He claimed that his daughter was “a very clever, well-behaved girl in Turkey” and that there were “no significant concerns, certainly nothing like those seen in England”.
Judge Duggan was not convinced. He said that it was “very improbable that [the girl’s] serious behaviour problems disappeared when she went to Turkey … and reappeared on her return”. The judge said that the father’s account was “inconsistent with the subsequent English experience”.
Although Judge Duggan noted that in the time the father had spent with his children in England he had offered “stimulation and warmth”. However, he could not ignore the father’s presence in the daughter’s life when she “was suffering significant harm”.
He concluded by making a special guardianship order in favour of the couple who were looking after the children in foster care. These orders provide a permanent home for children who cannot live with their parents, but the legal relationship between them is not severed as it is in adoption cases.
To read Blackpool BC v S and C (Turkish Children) in full, click here.