Relations between parents and social workers can often be difficult but judges are there to act as independent umpires to ensure that justice is done. In one case, a young mother was given fresh hope that her fight to block her baby daughter’s adoption will eventually succeed.
Although the mother’s parenting abilities gave no cause for concern, social workers were anxious that her relationship with the disruptive and violent father would put her baby at risk. She said that she had separated from the father, who was currently in prison, but a family judge nevertheless issued a care order and opened the way for the little girl’s adoption.
In granting the mother permission to appeal against that ruling, the Court of Appeal noted that adoption is always a last resort. The judge appeared not to have carried out the required balancing exercise and to have dealt with the issue of removing the child from her natural family in a very cursory manner. In those circumstances, the mother had good prospects of overturning the adoption order.
The Court warned the mother that, pending the full hearing of her appeal, she would be wise to concentrate all her efforts on ensuring her daughter’s welfare and to co-operate fully with social workers in order to build confidence that her relationship with the volatile father was permanently over.