The 15-month-old daughter of a vulnerable mother who could not care for her has been placed in the care of the local authority so she can be adopted.

The girl’s parents had been in a relationship since 2017. The mother was a vulnerable adult with learning difficulties who suffered from a syndrome that required a lot of support, and she had carers 24 hours a day.

The father had suffered a brain injury and also required support from carers.

Both parents had been volatile in the past. A pre-birth assessment found that the father could not provide the girl with safe care and that the mother would need intensive support.

The mother and daughter were placed in a mother and baby foster placement but after a few days the mother found it difficult to cope. The assessment highlighted concerns about the mother and father’s relationship.

The local authority sought care and placement orders on the basis that no other option was in the girl’s best interests. The mother and father sought a further assessment and an open adoption if the court determined that girl could not be cared for by them.

The court decided to grant the care and placement orders. 

It accepted that adoption was the option of last resort which would only be ordered where it was demonstrated that nothing else would do having regard to the overriding requirements of a child’s welfare.

However, it was not in the girl’s best interests to adjourn the case to permit another assessment of the mother. The mother could be assisted by carers but a lack of stable adults in charge on a day-to-day basis would seriously undermine the girl’s security, despite the continued presence of the mother.

Added to that were the difficulties in the parents’ relationship, which was volatile because of their difficulties.

It was not in the girl’s best interests to be placed with the mother and she should not remain in long-term foster care. Her welfare throughout her life required adoption. The parents’ consent was dispensed with and an order was made placing her for adoption. 

Direct contact might be beneficial if those who adopted her were open to it.

Please contact Sarah Ashby if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.

Daughter of vulnerable mother to be placed for adoption
[2020] EWFC 94
RE G (2020)
Fam Ct (Judd J) 22/12/2020

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