Tuesday 27 September 2016

Woman pregnant again weeks after children placed in care

Brian Farmer

Published 26/12/2015 | 10:03

The defendant, of North Strand, Drogheda, Co Louth, admitted before Swords District Court to possession of a credit card that adapts into a flick knife Stock photo: www.jupiterimages.com
The defendant, of North Strand, Drogheda, Co Louth, admitted before Swords District Court to possession of a credit card that adapts into a flick knife Stock photo: www.jupiterimages.com

A woman became pregnant again weeks after her four children were placed into council care by a family court judge

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The woman had been told that none of the four children could return to the care of her and her partner by a judge in August 2014 - after social workers raised concerns about the way the youngsters had been looked after.

She gave birth to a fifth child in June.

That baby, a girl, was placed into temporary foster care the day the woman left a maternity ward.

Now a family court judge has ruled that she should also be permanently taken from her parents' care - and placed for adoption.

Detail of the case has emerged - in a ruling by Judge Sarah Lynch, who was asked to make decisions about the fifth child's future at a family court hearing in Leeds - in the wake of research which showed that the number of new-born babies being taken into care had soared in recent years.

A report by academics published in mid-December showed that more than 2,000 new-born babies were made the subject of care proceedings in 2013 - up from about 800 in 2008.

Research revealed that around half of the babies were taken from women who had other children in care.

Statistics showed that one mother had seen 16 babies taken from her.

Judge Lynch said social workers had raised concerns about domestic violence and alcohol misuse when the futures of the first four children had been considered.

Social service bosses had said there were "long-standing" concerns.

They said there were "deficits" of the couple's parenting skills and children had suffered "significant harm".

And a social worker asked for her views of the future of the fifth children had said the couple had a "limited opportunity" to change their ways because the woman had become pregnant again in such a "short time".

Judge Lynch concluded that there was "no realistic prospect" of the little girl being "returned safely" to her parents' care.

She said the little girl's need for "stability and permanence" could only be met by adoption.

Researchers at Lancaster University, Brunel University, London, and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust had compiled figures on babies taken into care using family court records.

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