A mother with a troubled background has won the right to oppose adoption proceedings involving her youngest child.
The Court of Appeal was told that the mother had depression and problems with alcohol that had led to aggression and chaotic parenting.
Her son had been removed to foster care in June 2015. His two older siblings had also been removed and care orders were made in relation to all three children.
The son was placed with prospective adopters in April 2016 and remained in their care. There was evidence that he was settled there.
The mother applied for leave to oppose the adoption under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 on the basis that she was no longer drinking and that there was a possible plan that the two eldest children would be returned to her care.
The judge at the first hearing concluded that although the mother’s behaviour was improving, she was still a work in progress. Her application to oppose adoption proceedings was refused.
The Court of Appeal has overturned that decision.
It said that important new information had come to light since the first hearing. A plan to return the elder children to the mother’s care had been accelerated so that they were back with her in March 2017 and it was going well.
It showed a change of circumstances and a different timescale to the one envisaged by the judge.
The new information decided the appeal. Had the judge been aware that the two elder children would be living with the mother, she would probably have made a different decision.
The judge’s order was set aside. The mother was granted leave to oppose the adoption of her youngest child and the matter was remitted to a different judge to embark on a full hearing.
Please contact Julian Nelson if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.