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Unrepresented parents lose fight for daughter

A Cambridgeshire couple have lost a legal bid to prevent their infant daughter’s adoption.

While they began proceedings with “very competent and specialist solicitors”, the parents “chose to dispense with their services” and represent themselves.

Cambridgeshire County Council had applied for care and placement orders which would allow them to find an adoptive family for the girl, ‘Z’. This was prompted by concern for Z’s welfare and the belief that she would be neglected if she was left in the care of her parents.

These concerns were explained in a report compiled by a psychologist, a social worker and a guardian appointed by the court to advocate for Z’s best interests. They noted that the mother had learning difficulties and suffered from epilepsy. She would often need to be reminded to take her medication, they claimed. She also found it difficult to understand Z’s needs.

Meanwhile, the report alleged that the father used cannabis “on a regular basis” which would eventually lead to Z being neglected because he “would not always be focused on [her] and responsive to her needs”. The contributors to the report claimed that both parents did not take care of themselves and had “poor personal hygiene”. Social workers therefore worried that they would not keep Z clean or in clean clothes.

At the Family Court in Peterborough, His Honour Judge Greene said that the couple had denied almost everything in the report. This included the claim that they would need round-the-clock help if they were allowed to care for their daughter. They did not believe this would be necessary and said they would refuse such help.

Despite the couple’s protests, the judge believed that the evidence in the report had been “very clear, balanced and compelling”. It was “recognised by all parties that [the parents] love Z” and the social worker had expressed sympathy for their situation.

Judge Greene declared that the parents were “incapable of recognising [their] deficiencies” and that the evidence in favour of Z’s adoption was “overwhelming”. Therefore he made the care and placement orders the local authority had requested.

Cambridgeshire County Council v X and Y is available in full online. Read it here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Jerry Lonsdale says:

    I would just like to make sure your readers aware, a Placement Order is not an Adoption Order, therefore the “Parent’s” have not lost the Adoption fight, the parents have simply lost their opposition to the making of the Placement Order,

    The overall adoption fight can be lost which would be when the child is placed and the adoptive parents apply for the Adoption Order, the “parents” would still have the ability to oppose the making of the Adoption order therefore the “Adoption Fight” is not entirely lost.

  2. Tom Dobbie says:

    I read the judgement on this. It was very obvious that the judge had pre conceived his judgement before the trial.
    His judgement is structured to give a plausibility to his conclusions.
    This kind of judgement should be exposed and ripped to bits .
    If this judge wants to debate this in public, I am available at any time.

  3. Melissa Watson says:

    Tom dobbie do you know much about family law if so I could do with some advice, thanks

  4. Shelley says:

    I lost custody to my violent ex due to me not being represented and I suffered depression and couldn’t afford my solicitor anymore. My ex afforded the best legal representation money could buy. Now he’s stopping me seeing my children even tho the court orders said I was allowed but that me and my ex were to sort it between ourselves. Even tho my ex was violent and was with me from the age of 12 there was not enough evidence to back this up so it was thrown out in court so he has got away with it. I’m desperate to see my kids could anyone please help me with some help and advice. Huge thank you in advance.

  5. Winston Smith says:

    We have heard all this before so many times, the parents won’t recognise their problems and the mother has learning difficulties. They are so standard it is almost as iff standard case submissions are circulating La children’s departments.

    But being epileptic is not grounds for Forced Adopting a child.

    So I’d want to know how the Children’s Dept. got involved with them in the first place.

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