• Ayo Abraham

Mother loses appeal against placement order for her son


Mother loses appeal against placement order for her son

A mother has lost her appeal against a placement order for her disabled son that could lead to him being adopted.


The five-year-old boy, referred to as B, had global developmental delay and it was unclear whether he would be able to live independently as an adult. He had three half-siblings, aged 1-4.


The children lived with the mother and her partner, who was the father of the youngest two. The children were removed amid allegations of domestic violence by the partner against the three half-siblings, and unacceptable home conditions.


Interim care orders were made. B developed a strong relationship with his foster carers. He saw his mother and siblings weekly. The local authority had planned to reunite him with the mother. However, after discovering that she had lied about terminating her relationship with the partner, the rehabilitation plan was abandoned.


Having identified the only realistic options for B as being long-term fostering with a view to a special guardianship order or adoption, the judge set out a balance sheet of the advantages and disadvantages of each.


In favour of adoption was: B's global developmental delay needs and the difficulties they might cause beyond his childhood; a special guardianship order or final care order would only last until B was 18 whereas adoption would be for life; adoption would cement legally and permanently the relationship between B and his foster carers, who would become his adoptive parents; if the plan was simply long term foster care, B could experience further disruption in the future and would have the interference of the local authority in his family life.


B was made subject to a placement order with a view to "open" adoption by his foster carers.


The other siblings were placed with their paternal grandparents under a care order.


The mother did not consent to B's adoption. She conceded that she could not resume care for him at the time but proposed that he be cared for by the maternal grandmother. If that was not possible, she wanted him to remain in foster care so that she might resume care for all four children in the future.


The judge dispensed with the mother's consent to B's adoption on the basis that his welfare required it.


The Court of Appeal upheld that decision.


It held that the judge had undoubtedly applied the correct tests. She had accepted evidence from the guardian, who had advised that there was no other option that would meet B's needs.


If you would like more information or advice about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of family law please contact our expert legal team on 02080040065, by email at hello@southgate.co.uk or using the form below.


Case Citations: F-S (A Child: Placement Order), Re Court of Appeal (Civil Division), [2021] EWCA Civ 1212 - Lewison LJ; Peter Jackson LJ; Sir Christopher Floyd


The contents of this article are general information only. The information in this article is not legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should obtain independent expert advice from qualified solicitors such as those within our firm.

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