The risk of a one year-old being harmed is “simply too great” to allow his parents to care for him, the Family Court in Leeds has ruled.
The boy, ‘X’, was taken into foster care by the local authority last year after he was found with bruises on his face on two separate occasions.
At first, both his parents denied causing the injuries but the father soon admitted responsibility. He said that he had “tapped” the boy, but confessed that the force behind the taps had been “excessive and inappropriate” for such a small child. An expert paediatrician accepted that this was a plausible explanation for the bruises. Following the father’s admission, both parents also accepted responsibility for other allegations made by the local authority such as an incident of domestic violence in front of X.
Although the boy was already in care, the local authority applied for permission to find him an adoptive home. They claimed that there was a serious risk of harm if he was returned to his parents.
The mother sought the return of X to her care. She said that she could not forgive the father for hurting their son. Additionally, she claimed that the father had “agreed to leave the house and for them to separate”. While she admitted that she would find it difficult to look after the boy on her own, she believed she would have support from both her and the father’s family, even if they had separated.
Her Honour Judge Lynch said that the mother, who was pregnant again, was “at best naive about how difficult it would be” to keep the father away from the children. She said that the mother was unlikely to be able to deal with the challenges that come with the care of two small children “without significant support from a partner”. The judge also called the mother’s plan to rely on family help “unrealistic”.
Judge Lynch said that there was “no support package, professional or family, which would keep [X] safe twenty four hours a day or ensure all his needs would be met”. Therefore, she ruled that it was in the boy’s best interests to allow the local authority’s application and permit them to seek an adoptive family for him.
To read Re A Child in full, click here.