Nottingham baby: social workers to make fresh care application

Social workers in Nottingham who removed a newborn baby from his teenage mother without a court order will today make a fresh application to take the boy back into care.

The 18-year-old was reunited with her son yesterday lunchtime after an emergency High Court order ruled the baby had been unlawfully taken from the hospital at 4am, two hours after he was born.

Mr Justice Munby, who ordered social services from Nottingham Council to return the baby to its mother, said that “on the face of it” officials had acted without proper legal authority because a court order had not been obtained.

Removal unlawful

Ordering that the baby should be returned immediately to his mother, who can only be referred to as “G”, he said the removal of a child could only be lawful if a police officer was taking action to protect a child or a there was a court order in place.

He said no baby could be removed simply “as the result of a decision taken by officials in some room”.

Ian Wise, appearing for the mother at the High Court, said the child was removed after staff at the hospital were shown a “birth plan” allegedly prepared by social workers.

It said the mother, who had experienced a troubled childhood and suffered from mental health problems, should be separated from her child and no contact allowed without supervision by social workers.

A drawn out legal battle is likely to ensue over the baby’s future after the mother’s solicitor, Stuart Luke, said she planned to ‘‘vigorously contest” an application by social services at Nottingham Council for an interim care order.

Luke added that G would also launch a claim for damages against the council “arising out of the unfortunate removal of her child without lawful authority shortly after his birth”.

Package of care

Mr Justice Munby said a package of care should be put in place by social services to meet G’s immediate needs as a vulnerable person following the outcome of today’s hearing over the baby’s future, regardless of whether or not she was allowed to keep the child.

He also said the council should prepare a comprehensive amended “pathway plan” setting out proposals to help her in the future by no later than February 8.

The teenager is entitled to help from such a plan having recently left the care of the local authority. It is believed she was taken into care after running away from her parents’ home and starting using drugs.

Andrew Holman’s blog on the Nottingham case

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