The Family Court has denied a couple’s application for the return of their two year-old son.
The boy, identified in the judgment as ‘AB’, was taken into foster care by the local authority immediately following his discharge from hospital when he was born. This action was taken because the parents had “not been able to demonstrate an ability to care for any” of their previous three children.
Concerns about the couple’s ability to care for their children had been raised by the local authority because there were “risks relating to domestic violence, lack of supervision and failure to provide adequate food for the children”.
In early 2014, AB was placed with his parents under local authority supervision. However, further concerns were raised about the couples’ suitability within two months. These included worries about unsafe home conditions, drug paraphernalia seen in the house, aggressive behaviour and various other problems.
The local authority once again removed AB from his parents’ care and subsequently applied for a placement order. This would allow them to seek an adoptive family for him. In response, the parents applied for the initial care order to be dismissed so their son could live with them.
Sitting at the Family Court in Hull, Her Honour Judge Pemberton said that reports of “extremely dirty, unhygienic” living conditions in the home were corroborated by several employees of the local authority who had visited the family. They said that AB was “at risk of exposure to germs and contracting illness” as a result.
Additionally, the judge said that the father had “reverted to illicit drug use on at least one occasion” to manage stress. Drug use would be “an ongoing risk for the future”.
She concluded that adoption was “the only option” to ensure AB’s safety as he grows up. Therefore, Judge Pemberton granted the local authority’s application for a placement order and refused the parents’ application for the initial care order to be set aside.
To read Re AB in full, click here.