Child Care proceedings abandoned due to parents progress

We often here about child care proceedings in which the children are taken away from the parents due to the parents being unable to cater for the needs and best interests of their child. Our family lawyers consider a case law in which the care proceedings have been abandoned due to significant progress and changes made by the parents to their lives.

Local Authority begin Child care proceedings

The case of X (A child: care order) (2017) concerns child care proceedings about a little boy who is five months old. His parents cared for him since he was born but, due to concerns that people had at the time the case began, the child has been subject to an interim care order. The local authority began these proceedings in January and the interim care order was made on 6th February.

The local authority was worried about the mother’s alcohol use, domestic abuse within the parents’ relationship, housing issues, and a lack of engagement with ante-natal and other services. The parents moved between different local authority areas which made it difficult to assess them. There was not much background information about the parents, but it transpired the mother had two older children who she did not have contact with and were living with family members in their home country.

Due to the uncertainty about the parent’s ability to meet the needs of their expected child and to co-operate successfully with professionals, the local authority began these proceedings after the child’s birth.

Despite the issues with the parents the child continued to live with them

At the first hearing, it was agreed that the child would remain living with his parents but with a tight placement agreement and support package. The child has remained living with his parents during the court case and things have turned out very well.

The judge noted the issues raised by the local authority as:

  • Mother has used alcohol excessively and there have been reports of incidents of domestic abuse within the household. The mothers excessive drinking has the potential to impair her parenting capacity and expose the child to the risk of significant harm.
  • The relationship between the mother and the father has included physical and verbal abuse, with the mother having been convicted of battery in December 2016 following her assaulting the father. This again exposes the child to the risk of emotional harm.
  • The parents have lived an unstable lifestyle which has resulted in the family moving between three different local authority areas during the mother’s pregnancy. This unstable lifestyle is not conducive to providing safe and consistent care to the child and would place him at risk of suffering significant harm in the form of the neglect of his physical and emotional harm.
  • The mother has not consistently engaged with ante-natal care services and failed to attend appointments. In doing so she has failed to prioritise the health and welfare of the child and placed him at risk of suffering physical harm.

Parents change their lifestyle for the welfare of their child

The judge considered the social worker’s final statement and assessment of the parents within the set of child care proceedings. The social workers noted there have been no worries at all about the care which the child has received from his parents during the court case. The parents have worked well with the local authority and have clearly made significant changes in their life since their child’s birth.

The mother has during the case worn a bracelet which monitors alcohol use and intake. There is no evidence to suggest the mother has been drinking. The social worker says there is been no evidence whatsoever of the mother drinking during the court case, despite intensive monitoring from professionals.

The situation between the parents also seems to have improved as there have been no reports of domestic abuse made by either of them or reported by anyone else. Although there are still some concerns on the part of the social worker in respect of the couple’s relationship, the parents have agreed to do work around this.

The local authority recognised the positive changes of the parents, but there are still some worries around the mother’s ability to continue to abstain from drinking and also regarding the couple’s relationship. They were therefore seeking a supervision order for twelve months, which would require it to support the family.

Child Care proceedings abandoned by the local authority

The judge concluded that the parents can offer the child what he needs, he has thrived in their care and has a secure attachment both them. Growing up in the parents care would give him the best possible childhood whereas removing him from their care would cause him emotional harm.

The judge concluded by stating “Making change to one’s life is never easy, and the changes made by the parents are significant. They deserve to be praised for being able to put their child first. I very much hope they will be able to continue to do so, knowing that the result of the changes they have made has been their son being able to grow up in their care. So many parents are unable to make the changes their children need, and judges such as me sadly often end up removing children from their families, so for me it has been a delight to deal with this case and for it to end as it has”.

Consult us for FREE legal advice today on child care proceedings

If you engaged in a set of care proceedings and want to know how to effectively tackle the local authority and process contact our family lawyers in Newcastle on 0191 814 1000 to discuss your options or let us call you back. We specialise in all areas of child law and will be happy to assist.

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