Two half-brothers should be taken into care after their troubled mother neglected them, a Judge has ruled.
The siblings in question – ‘E’ and ‘F’, were aged five and four at the time of the hearing. They had a younger sister, ‘G’, who was then just one month old. G’s biological father is also the stepfather of the two boys, who each had a different father.
In the Family Court sitting at Peterborough, His Honour Judge Greene explained:
“The father of F is believed to be I, but he has taken no part in these proceedings, despite being aware of them. A subsequent partner of D was named on the birth certificate, but I am satisfied from evidence that I heard that he is not in fact the father of F, and on the evidence I have heard I am satisfied that a declaration should be made correcting F’s paternity.”
The evidence included the payment of child maintenance by another man referred to as ‘I’.
The family’s local authority, Cambridgeshire County Council, launched care proceedings before the birth of G. They claimed that the brothers were at risk of significant harm in their mother’s care.
In a report, a clinical psychologist explained that the mother struggled with depression and also had difficulties “regulating her strong feelings of anger and anxiety.”
As a result of her difficulties, she neglected her children in a “unstable and chaotic” home. She was, he said, prone to “frightening volatility.”
The mother admitted that a troubled childhood had led to her behaving in ways that were harming her sons. She accepted the conclusions of the psychologist and began to attend therapy sessions with G’s father H, who also had a difficult family background.
As a result, the Judge noted, their situation at home had become calmer. They had a lot of work ahead of them but it was “encouraging”, said Judge Greene, that they had accepted the need for treatment.
But, he continued:
“Unfortunately there are no other suitable members of their family who have been put forward or positively assessed as carers, and in respect of E, his father in effect is unknown, and F’s father has shown no interest in the proceedings. The evidence was very clear that the harm the children have suffered in their short lives means that they need to have the type of expert care that will help them recover from that.”
Consequently, he approved the local authority’s application to take them into the care system, with a view to adoption by specialist carers who could provide them with the therapeutic environment they were in need of. A suitable environment had to take priority over placing them together although the latter would a desirable outcome too.
Separate proceedings were scheduled regarding the future of their young sister G.
Read Cambridgeshire County Council and D here.