The children of Slovakian parents have been put up for adoption in the latest period of what the judge described as the family’s “sad and disturbing” history.
The parents were married in Slovakia in 2012. The mother, who is 32 years old, is Hungarian and of Roma origin. She was raised on the street in Slovakia as part of a homeless family.
She is illiterate and has no knowledge of the English language. An assessment carried in the course of these proceedings has established that she has learning difficulties with an IQ of 50.
The father, who is 36 years old, is Slovakian but also speaks Hungarian. He is literate with some understanding of English, although a psychological assessment in the course of the proceedings has established that he too has a low IQ of around 63.
It is alleged that the parents were the victims of people trafficking. The mother’s account is that on arrival at Dover they escaped from the traffickers and travelled across England, staying at various locations, but ending up in Bournemouth.
On 18th May 2013, the mother gave birth to a girl, N. Social services became involved with the family shortly afterwards in July 2013, following a referral from a housing officer after neighbours complained that the adults were arguing and the baby crying. In Autumn 2013, the mother became pregnant again. On 24th May 2014, she gave birth to a son, P.
Care proceedings were instituted in early July 2014. The children were placed in foster care and the parents returned to Slovakia.
Mr Justice Baker had to decide whether the children should be sent to Slovakia, where most members of their family live, or whether they should be placed for adoption with their current foster carers.
He decided that their welfare would be best served by the latter course of action. He said: “The disadvantages of a placement in Slovakia in this case are in fact so great that I do not regard it as a realistic option.
“To my mind, the only realistic option is that they remain in their current placement. The realistic options are therefore long-term foster care or adoption.
“Having regard to… their need for stability and security, the balance plainly comes down in favour of adoption. I take account of the likely effect on the children (throughout their lives) of ceasing to be members of their birth family. In my judgment, any disadvantages are outweighed by the emotional security they will acquire as adopted persons.”
He said the children’s needs were being well met by their carers, with whom they had formed a close attachment and were thriving.