The High Court has refused to place four children in the care of their Lithuanian grandfather.
All four children, who were one, two, five and seven years old respectively, were placed in foster care last year following an interim care order. However the judgment did not specify why they had been removed from their parents.
Their Latvian mother and Lithuanian father both live in the UK and were asked to provide the names of family members who could take the children in. They both chose relatives who currently live here, but none of the people they submitted were approved by the local authority as suitable carers.
Much later, the father suggested his own father for consideration. Mr Justice Keehan pointed out that the grandfather was unaware of this. The judge could not “begin to understand how the father can put forward his father without having discussed with him whether he is even able or prepared to care for all four children”.
Notification issues aside, Mr Justice Keehan said he could equally not “begin to conceive” why the children’s father believed their paternal grandfather would be a suitable person to care for them. For one thing, the 55 year-old lived alone in Lithuania despite the fact that he is still technically married to the children’s paternal grandmother, who lives in the UK. Health issues were also a factor as the grandfather had had a heart attack five years ago.
The Judge added that such a late application could only be considered “if there is exceptionally good reason as to why they have not hitherto come forward” but said there was no such reason here. Therefore he rejected the application to place the children with their grandfather.
Read L & Ors (Children : care proceedings) in full here.
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