A placement order has been made for a seven-month-old child after a special guardianship order broke down only two weeks after it began.
The child, who had been in foster care since birth and began a special guardianship order with his maternal aunt and uncle on 15 September 2015, was neglected by his special guardians. The uncle had also misused their special guardianship allowance to “fund the purchase of drugs, alcohol and for gambling”.
The child, referred to as R, returned to his previous foster carers on 1 October 2015. He had started to live with his aunt and uncle on 17 August.
“On his return to foster care, it was clear that R had suffered neglect in the care of his maternal uncle and aunt. He was though fortunate in being able to return to his original foster placement and appears to have recovered from the neglect he had suffered,” the judge said.
The special guardianship arrangement ended despite “positive assessments of two possible placements” being made for R with his maternal and paternal aunt and uncles.
“R returned to his foster placement at the request of his maternal aunt following the breakdown of her marriage to the maternal uncle caused by his misuse of the special guardianship allowance to fund the purchase of drugs and alcohol and for gambling,” the judge found.
His paternal aunt and uncle, after the initial placement broke down, did not think they could provide the care for R. The authority made an application for a placement order after deciding his mother could not meet the child’s needs, even with support.
Lack of support for mother
The father did not say he could care for R, and did not seek to oppose any decision that could have been made by the court. He had previously “inflicted serious injuries” on an older child, and had been convicted of an offence of causing grievous bodily harm.
An assessment of the mother found that the neglect and abuse that she experienced during her own childhood “meant that she has difficulties managing relationships and struggles to show empathy and compassion”, and the judge noted she had “yet to receive professional support and therapy”.
“She can present as distant and removed, she was susceptible to forming negative personal relationships highly likely to have an adverse impact on her own wellbeing and that of any child in her care, and she was resistant to working with professionals,” the ruling said.