IN THE MATTER OF THE CHILDREN ACT 1989
AND IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION AND CHILDREN ACT 2002
AND IN THE MATTER OF FRANK
B e f o r e :
| Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
(by his children's Guardian)
Andrew Nixon for the 1st Respondent
Andrew Lord for the 2nd Respondent
Julie Amiss for the 3rd Respondent
Hearing dates: - 3rd and 6th November
Crown Copyright ©
The evidence in relation to Frank
i. Both parents described settled childhoods and happy family experiences.
ii. The parents have a range of independent living skills and home conditions are clean and adequate.
iii. The father has restricted his alcohol use to safe levels and has attended bereavement counselling.
iv. The parents have some parenting skills and show warmth and affection towards Frank.
i. The mother has a learning disability which increases her vulnerability.
ii. She was the victim of a serious sexual assault at a young age.
iii. The father also experienced difficulties as an older child with peer and community rejection linked to his father's past.
iv. There has been a pattern of relationship conflict including violence and controlling behaviours.
v. The mother has been unable to keep herself safe.
vi. The parents have not been able to safely care for their older children exposing them to emotional harm and neglect.
vii. Parenting knowledge and skills are limited particularly with regards basic care, responsiveness and child development.
viii. Previous engagement with professionals and support services has been unreliable and both parents lack insight into the concerns raised.
ix. There is limited wider family support available.
"family ties may only be severed in very exceptional circumstances and … everything must be done to preserve personal relations and, where appropriate, to 'rebuild' the family. It is not enough to show that a child could be placed in a more beneficial environment for his upbringing. However, where the maintenance of family ties would harm the child's health and development, a parent is not entitled under article 8 to insist that such ties be maintained (emphasis added)."
"society must be willing to tolerate very diverse standards of parenting, including the eccentric, the barely adequate and the inconsistent … it is not the provenance of the state to spare children all the consequences of defective parenting. In any event, it simply could not be done."
The legal principles
1. S1(4)(c) the likely effect on the child (throughout her life) of having ceased to be a member of the original family and become an adopted person; and
2. S.(1)(f) The relationship which the child has with relatives and with any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, including –
i. the likelihood of it continuing and the value to [the child] of it doing so
ii. the ability and willingness of any of [the child's] relatives to provide him with a secure environment in which he can develop and have his needs met
iii. the wishes and feelings of the relatives