B e f o r e :
| A Mother
|A Local Authority
Crown Copyright ©
The written reasons are being distributed on the strict understanding that in any report, no person may be identified by name or location (Other than a person identified by name in the reasons themselves) and that in particular the anonymity of the children and the adult members of their family must be strictly preserved
These Facts and Reasons have been agreed by consent by the parties and have been adopted by the Court and the Court is satisfied that the parties have agreed terms and the proposed Order is appropriate in the circumstances of the case.
This is an application by the birth mother for the discharge of a care order that was made in respect of the child in 2003, who is now aged 7 1/2. The mother has four children by the same father. The father has not has participated in the proceedings. In her application to the discharge she is supported by the Local Authority and the Guardian.
The full care order had been made in 2003 following concerns regarding the injuries sustained by the child. They included burns to his head which were classed as accidental. Additionally there were two fractures of the distal femoral metaphysics which were classed as hairline fractures and which were believed to be non-accidental. It was suspected at the time that the injuries arose because of the lack of supervision. The child however was almost immediately returned to mother under the Placement Parents Regulations.
At the conclusion of the care order, the child's two older brothers were made the subject of supervision orders and have remained living with her mother throughout. Since then a further child has been born who is now 2 ½. That child also remains with mother. Those 2 supervision orders have expired, and no other child is subject to any other order.
Mother and father's relationship ended in 2003 and they are now divorced. They remain on amicable terms. There are occasions when it becomes fractious, and police have been called to the premises when there have been disagreements between the parents. Mother accepts the concerns of the professionals, and recognises and regrets the fact that the children have been exposed to arguments. There have been no callouts to the police for some eight months.
The child of this application has undoubtedly a close attachment to his mother and siblings. Mother continues to work hard and provides a good home for the four children. The only reason father hasn't participated in the proceedings is that he was unable to secure legal aid to pay for his representation. Neither is he in a position to take time off work. Mother now has an amicable relationship with her former husband.
She also has a good working relationship with the local authority and is agreeable to the care order ceasing and to it being replaced with a supervision order. It will enable her to obtain the services of the Local Authority in assisting her in the care and parenting of her four children. The children have a good school record are well presented and enjoy various activities.
The child, the subject of this application is happy and contented and is meeting all the appropriate milestones. The child is a well turned out at school, has a good attendance record and is well behaved and happy. The child uses an inhaler for it's asthma which is controlled. There is good contact between mother and father and child.
Recent visits made to the family, indicate that all the children are well cared for by their mother and that she has taken on board the advice given by the previous social worker with regard to the home and some inattention to supervision of the children in public. Additionally the routines and boundaries are now more clearly in evidence.
The child is reported to be a happy child and is popular in school with a number of friends and is described as having a warm caring personality and plays happily with a variety of friends during break time and is always laughing. The child is regarded as being polite and usually well-behaved, and has been described as a lovely happy child with a warm and friendly personality.
The mother, in the Local Authorities core assessment completed in October, concludes that mother is more accepting of the concerns of the Local Authority and is showing signs of having a more settled and less volatile approached with the father of her children.
Taking all these matters into account, and having read the trial bundle, and exercising my discretion under s. 31 of the Children Act 1989 and considering those matters under s.31.2 and s.1.3 of the Act, I feel it appropriate that the matter should proceed by consent and an order made that the care order in respect of the child be discharged and that there be a supervision order in its place for a period of 12 months or until further order.
This is a matter that should've been dealt with in the Family Proceedings Court but owing to the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008, article 5.(3) it is stipulated that the proceedings to discharge should be dealt with by the court that made the original order. There is no reason why this order could not have been dealt with by the Family Proceedings Court save for the strict interpretation of this order which possibly needs to be re-examined.