A child whose parents could not be found should be adopted, the High Court has ruled.
The young girl, temporarily named ‘Jade’, was referred to West Sussex County Council by a woman who claimed the child’s mother had died. Using information from this woman, the local authority identified a man who was thought to be the girl’s father but they found no biological link between them.
Jade’s exact age is not known, but a paediatrician who treated her said she was probably born in September 2014.
When no further information on the identity of her parents could be found, the council applied for care and placement orders to give Jade a permanent adoptive home.
At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Hayden said the local authority had “taken every conceivable measure to achieve the identification of the parents”. The council had “gone well beyond [reasonable steps] and explored creative and well considered options” to find them but had had no success.
They also launched a publicity campaign in the hope that someone would come forward with accurate information. Jade was described as “an affectionate, sociable, bright and happy toddler” who liked singing and dancing. She was “inquisitive, active and enjoys the outdoors” where she can climb and explore. Her photograph was circulated by the BBC, ITV and both the paper and online versions of the Daily Mail. Unfortunately the campaign failed.
As a result, the judge declared there was “no reasonable prospect of identifying her two parents”. Therefore, it was in Jade’s best interests to have “a smooth and structured move to a loving permanent placement”.
Luckily, the local authority claimed “a prospective adoptive placement [had] already been identified” with a suitable family, so Mr Justice Hayden made the requested care and placement orders.
Read the full judgment here.
Photo by Véronique Debord-Lazaro via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.