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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Child of teenage siblings is to go up for adoption

Claire Cromie 
and Alan Erwin

Published 08/08/2014 | 02:30

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The father, Z, disputed that he was the father – but DNA testing proved he was
The father, Z, disputed that he was the father – but DNA testing proved he was

A toddler is to be put up for adoption after DNA testing revealed that his parents are a teenage brother and sister.

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The little boy was born in 2012 as a result of siblings' incest but the father denied that the child was his.

His mother was aged just 13 when she became pregnant, while her brother was 15.

None of the family can be identified for legal reasons.

Carers have described the mother as a "very vulnerable young girl" and "a victim of the way in which she was raised".

Details of the case emerged as a Belfast High Court judge cleared the way for the toddler's adoption.

Mr Justice John O'Hara ruled that the mother is incapable of giving consent, so the authorities do not require a "freeing order" to arrange the adoption. The family's circumstances were described in court as "depressing".

Both the mother, referred to as A, and her son, J, were taken into care - in different settings - within months of the birth.

With no suitable family arrangements available, the little boy has since been placed with another couple.

The father, Z, disputed that he was the father - but DNA testing proved he was.

The trust involved in the case sought a freeing order on the basis that it is in J's bests interests to be adopted - a view the judge held to be correct.

Although the child's father took little part in the proceedings, Mr Justice O'Hara had to decide whether the mother's agreement should be dispensed with because she is incapable of giving consent or whether she is unreasonably withholding consent.

Now aged 16, the court heard A - who was a schoolgirl when she became pregnant - has had an "exceptionally difficult life".

There had been recurring social services involvement due to a variety of concerns about her, her siblings and her mother and step-father.

"None of this is A's fault - she is a victim of the way in which she was raised," the judge said.

"It is hard to identify any positive life experience which she has enjoyed."

An educational psychologist's report on A's mathematical ability found only 3pc of pupils the same age would have scored the same or lower on a numerical operations test and just 16pc on reasoning.

Irish Independent

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