Foster parent wins injunction against local authority’s planned removal of child

In a brand new case, the High Court has granted an injunction to an adopter to prevent the local authority removing a child from her care.

The case – RCW v A Local Authority – concerned a child who was abandoned shortly after birth. She was taken into local authority care and then placed with the woman, referred to as ‘RCW’ in court documents.

The child quickly bonded with her new foster carer. In the words of Mr Justice Cobb:

“The placement appears on all accounts to have been an extremely successful one.”

Unfortunately RCW was diagnosed with a brain tumour early last month. Ten weeks after the initial placement, RCW became eligible to make a formal application for adoption, under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, but on the very same day she was admitted to hospital for emergency surgery.

As a result of the surgery, the woman lost her sight although it has not yet known whether or not the loss will be permanent. On the day that she was discharged from hospital, RCW was assessed by a social worker and shortly afterwards told that the child would be removed from her care.

RCW then applied for the injunction, doing so under section 7 of the Human Rights Act 1998. This allows proceedings to be brought against public authorities that have acted, or plan to act, in ways defined as unlawful by the act.

RCW claimed, amongst other things, that she had not been involved in any of the decisions made by the local authority; that she had made proper arrangement for the child’s care; and that taking the child from her care would breach her – and the child’s – rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which requires respect for “private and family life”.

Describing the case as “unusual and troubling”, Mr Justice Cobb said the local authority had not given RCW a fair opportunity to address its concerns and said it had shown “shown a worrying lack of enquiry into the condition or the potential for good care offered by a visually impaired parent”.

Photo by USCPSC via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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4 comments

vob - February 15, 2013 at 9:52pm

It is ” troubling ” that many of today’s so called ”Social Workers” treat children as transportable to ”strangers” citing : it is in their ”best interest” I know many SW have not attained particular high levels of education. Surely though they should understand ”attachment” the severing of it causes ”long term damage”. SW have too much ” Power” Where is the ”humanity” towards the carer and the child.

Julie geldart - February 16, 2013 at 2:27pm

Social workers care little about children and more about meetings and ticking the right boxes. I’m a local authority foster career. I have 2 children placed with me. One I’ve had since being discharged from hospital 3 weeks old neonatal abstinence syndrome. I spent every day at hospital with him.he’s now 9 months old. I adore him and he’s bonded with my husband myself and the whole family.social services spoke to us about adopting him months ago, now they’re saying it’s not their policy. We have a solicitor but social services are removing him next week. They really don’t care. They’re moving him to new foster carers then moving him again to adoptive family.

MHC - February 16, 2013 at 2:49pm

The Child Abuse and Adduction Industry is highly lucrative and that it is cruel callous and corrupt is demonstrated by the eagerness that Social Workers seize children on the flimsiest of evidence.
That it is a self perpetuating Industry is also demonstrated by the fact that those in care are “…. 66 times more likely to have children of their own who will need public care” as quoted by the Child Minister, put more bluntly 66 times more likely for their children to be abducted!

vob - February 18, 2013 at 8:55pm

Julie, stop ‘fostering’! they don’t care about you and your husbands feelings. They don’t care about many of the ‘birth’ parents feelings when they steal children from them. Some removals may be justified many are not ! You may have been given some embellished report about the ones that are with you now. By ‘fostering’ they are using such
as yourself to ‘promote ‘forced adoption’ it is inhumane

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