A judge has ruled that a three-year-old daughter of mentally-ill parents should be left with her current foster carer.
In Gloucestershire County Council v M and Others, the child – who has remained anonymous – was taken from her mother at the age of 19-months and placed with a foster carer after the mother was deemed unable to provide proper care.
Speaking in Court, Judge Wildblood QC said: “[The child’s] mother was unable to continue to look after her being caught up in a life that involved drink, drugs, violent relationships and instability. At the time that [the child] came to live with [the foster carer] the mother was single, suffering from mental ill-health and had made an attempt on her own life.”
The court heard that the child’s mother and father had struggled through a “volatile and unstable” relationship, and that her father had been abusive towards her mother.
The father was later jailed for six months after “violently” breaching a non-molestation order against him.
The mother was subsequently caught up in further violent relationships.
The child’s placement initially took place under an interim care order, with the future of her care to be decided in the Court.
While her father petitioned to place the child in the care of his partner and sisters, the Judge ruled that there was a very “significant” risk that her emotional needs would not be met.
Judge Wildblood said: “Not only would her emotions have to adjust to yet another major move as she left the one-to-one care of [the former childminder] but she would be living in a very different environment with [the aunt and uncle] where they may well not be able to cope with the additional demands of caring for her.
“In my opinion that would not be fair on anyone and could not be in [the child’s] best interests.”
The Judge issued a special guardianship order in favour of the foster carer, instructing that the situation should be supervised by Gloucestershire County Council for a period of 12 months.