A family court judge has praised parents for making “significant changes” during care proceedings that saw a council withdraw its recommendation that their baby should be taken into care.
Judge Lynch made the comments after the unnamed local authority told the court that the parents’ progress meant it no longer believed the five-month-old baby boy should be removed from their care. The council changed its recommendation from a care order to a supervision order.
Care proceedings began in January due to the local authority’s concerns over the mother’s drinking, the risk of domestic abuse, and the parents’ housing issues and lack of engagement with services.
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The council had sought the care order in February. At the time, it was decided that the baby could live with his parents through the proceedings with a “tight placement agreement and support package”.
The judge said the problems identified at the start of the case had “improved considerably” over the course of the proceedings and things had “turned out very well” for the family.
“I have read carefully the social worker’s final statement and her assessment of the parents. She says that there have been no worries at all about the care which [he] has received from his parents during the time this court case has been going on,” she said.
“The parents have worked well with the local authority and have clearly made significant changes in their life since their son’s birth.”
There had been no reports of domestic abuse during proceedings, and the family agreed to continue working with their social worker around ongoing concerns in this area.
The mother had also demonstrated progress with alcohol use. A monitoring bracelet showed “no evidence” the mother had drunk alcohol during proceedings.
Following the progress made, the judge made a supervision order for 12 months.
She said there was no need for “unnecessary intrusion” in the family life, and the supervision order would guarantee the additional protection of continued social work support as the parents worked on issues identified by the local authority.
In making the order, the judge praised both the parents for putting their son first.
“I very much hope they will be able to continue to do so, knowing that the result of the changes they have made has been their son being able to grow up in their care,” she said.
“So many parents are unable to make the changes their children need, and judges such as me sadly often end up removing children from their families, so for me it has been a delight to deal with this case and for it to end as it has.”