ON APPEAL FROM BIRMINGHAM
CIVIL JUSTICE CENTRE
(HIS HONOUR JUDGE WATSON)
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LADY JUSTICE BLACK
|IN THE MATTER OF D O'H (CHILDREN)|
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Ms Jane Probyn (instructed by Birmingham City Council) appeared on behalf of the First Respondent local authority.
The Second Respondent father did not appear and was not represented.
The Third Respondent child did not appear and was not represented.
Ms Elizabeth Isaacs appeared on behalf of the Fourth Respondent child via his guardian.
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Lady Justice Black:
"It is my finding that the proposed parenting assessment takes the case no further until mother takes up the interventions and makes changes to her most basic behaviours. Until then she will continue to behave as she has always done. She will be able at times to give good enough care to her children but at other times and quite unpredictably to abscond, to abandon her children, to abuse alcohol, to make poor judgments and to fail to appreciate the consequences of her behaviour. This is the issue to be addressed, her inconsistency and at times her unavailability for her children. The question is what needs to be done before she can reliably put her children's needs before her own? Dr Craig has made it very clear. I am satisfied that having heard the evidence from the expert and oral evidence from the mother that none of the interventions are in place or in prospect because mother cannot accept that there is a need to change and cannot, therefore, recognise the need to change, sadly, this being part of her psychological make up."
"The attachment between [N] and [L] informs [N's] care plan in terms of contact but also would inform the care plan in terms of strategies to minimise the impact of cessation of that contact. It would also inform [L's] care plan in terms of identifying a placement and would give balance to the argument that [L's] safety in a placement must override the children's ongoing relationship.
130. I am left with a very uneasy feeling that this is an essential piece of work which probably should have been done at an earlier stage but that without it I cannot be satisfied that all of the necessary evidence is in place to support the basis for [L's] placement for adoption. I am left with the uneasy feeling that I do not have an answer to the question as to whether face to face contact between the siblings could take place without disruption to the placement and I particularly have regard to the fact that in five years time [N] will be eighteen but [L] will still be only eight years old."
Lord Justice Thorpe:
Order: Application granted; appeal dismissed