Transformed mother fails to block adoption

Posted: 11th July 2013

familyA mother whose chaotic lifestyle of alcohol and drug addiction resulted in her baby daughter being taken from her by social workers when she was just four days old has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that she should be reunited with her child in the light of a dramatic improvement in her way of life since the birth.

Following the child’s removal from her mother, a family judge had made a full care order and directed placement of the child for adoption. The mother’s subsequent attempt to persuade the judge to revoke the placement order in view of the dramatic transformation of her lifestyle was rejected.

On appeal, the mother argued forcefully that she had entirely beaten her addictions and established a stable support network and that it was hard to see what further steps she could have taken in order to prove her fitness as a parent. She submitted that a change in circumstances had been established and that the family judge erred in law in refusing to return her daughter to her care.

The Court noted that, due to her addictions, the mother had endured a ‘frightening and awful adolescence and early adulthood’ and paid tribute to her great efforts to improve herself following the birth of her child. The Court expressed ‘great sympathy’ for her and observed: “She makes a plea for placement of the child in her care which is extremely powerful and almost impossible to resist in human terms”.

However, in refusing to grant her permission to appeal, the Court noted that the welfare of the child was of paramount importance and that she was now aged two and had been placed with prospective adopters. The family judge had justifiably found that the mother 'still had a long way to travel', that it would take years for her to fully recover her health and that her daughter simply could not wait that long.