ON APPEAL FROM CHELMSFORD COUNTY COURT
(HER HONOUR JUDGE MURFITT)
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE JACKSON
LORD JUSTICE RYDER
|IN THE MATTER OF R (CHILDREN)|
WordWave International Limited
A Merrill Communications Company
165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Ms A Thain (instructed by Essex County Council) appeared on behalf of the Respondent
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Ryder:
- A long history of terrifying and serious domestic violence perpetrated on M by F in front of the children, to the extent that the eight-year-old boy would refuse to go home because he was so scared;
- A history of association with and use of illegal drugs by the parents;
- The neglect of the children in unhygienic home conditions;
- The parents' lack of understanding of the children's wider practical and emotional care needs; and
- The significant impact on the children of the abuse and neglect, including developmental delay.
In my opinion, a Care Order is the only appropriate method of ensuring that [C] is kept safe from harm and that she is meeting her developmental milestones. If the Court granted a Care Order then this would allow the Local Authority to permanency (sic) plan for [C] and safeguard her accordingly."
In support of that recommendation the local authority social worker and report writer had produced a statement of evidence to the court and gave oral evidence upon which she was cross-examined.
"1(4) The court or adoption agency must have regard to the following matters (among others) -
(c) the likely effect on the child (throughout his life) of having ceased to be a member of the original family and become an adopted person,
(f) the relationship which the child has with relatives, and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant, including –
i. the likelihood of any such relationship continuing and the value to the child of its doing so,
ii. the ability and willingness of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, to provide the child with a secure environment in which the child can develop, and otherwise to meet the child's needs,
iii. the wishes and feelings of any of the child's relatives, or of any such person, regarding the child."
"52 (1) The Court cannot dispense with the consent of any parent or guardian of a child to the child being placed for adoption or to the making of an adoption order in respect of the child unless the court is satisfied that –
(b) the welfare of the child requires the consent to be dispensed with.". .
"I regret (that) in the end I am not able to be satisfied that they will be equal to the task of meeting all of the children's emotional as well as practical needs, or to providing them with a secure environment in which to develop, whilst also having to attend to the competing needs of their own family in all the circumstances.
I recognise that the making of a care order represents a considerable interference with the children's right to a family life, but in the end I am satisfied it is both a necessary and proportionate response to their needs. I also agree that after considering all other family and kinship care options, that making a placement order is most likely to provide these two children with the security of a permanent home with carers who are likely to meet all of their developmental needs, and enable them to attain their full potential in life."
"I recognise that the making of a care order represents a considerable interference with the children's right to a family life, but in the end I am satisfied it is both a necessary and proportionate response to their needs. I also agree that after considering all other family and kinship care options, the making of a placement order is most likely to provide these two children with the security of a permanent home with carers who are likely to meet all of their developmental needs, and enable them to attain their full potential in life. I shall accordingly make the care order and dispense with the consent of the parents, M and F, to the making of a placement order on the grounds that the children's welfare requires that I should do so."
Lord Justice Jackson:
Lord Justice Lloyd: