New Sibling

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Celle
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:26 pm

New Sibling

Post by Celle » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:42 pm

Hi, I was a frequent poster several years ago, when my daughter and son in law (T and M) had F placed with them under an SGO that they later successfully changed to an Adoption order.

F, who is a distant relative of our son in law, was taken into foster care at 5 months old, placed with T and M at 15 months old under an SGO, and adopted when she was about 3 years old. She is now a happy, well adjusted eight-year-old.
Relations have been re-established with her birth grandparents and her older half sister, for whom they are guardians.

Both girls know that they were born to their BM, who was "too sick" to care for them. They see each other on birthdays and during holiday periods. Now they are older, they know that BM is a persistent drug taker. They have not seen BM since F was 5 months old.

When F was born, she should have gone straight from hospital into foster care, in accordance with an existing Court order, but it was decided to give BM one last chance. That didn't go well. The girls were removed from BM, F into foster care and older half sister placed with maternal grandparents.

BM, who started taking drugs at age 14, reverted to her previous life-style and she has failed to attend all meetings aimed at possibly arranging visiting her daughters.

BM gave birth to another girl, A, (father unknown) at the beginning of March 2021, her fourth child - she has an older son who is with his paternal grandparents, also under an SGO.

Baby A was kept in hospital for 3 days, all appeared normal with her, and she was then placed into foster care.

T and M have indicated that they are keen to take and adopt baby A, and F is also happy that a baby (half) sister may come to live with them.

Children's' Services have indicated that T and M are their first choice for placement and they will apply for an Adoption Order, not an 'SGO, this time.

The Court has mandated that no decision concerning placement will be made until June, to allow BM time to clean up her act and change her lifestyle.
With 3 children already removed from her care and a 25-year history of drug abuse, this isn't likely to happen.
We do feel some sympathy for BM, who did stay off the drugs while pregnant, so her daughters are not drug-affected, but we feel that the new baby shouldn't be exposed to the danger of neglect, as the older girls were.

BM has indicated in writing that if she can't have baby A she would prefer her to be placed with T and M. She also gave consent when they adopted F.

Is the Court likely to extend the grace period for BM beyond June?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 725
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: New Sibling

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:45 am

Dear Celle

Thank you for posting on the forum again.

You have set out the background relating to the child your daughter and son-in-law adopted after being her special guardians. Although she has been adopted, she continues to have contact with her siblings who are placed with maternal and paternal grandparents.

The adopted child is now 8 and her birth mother has given birth to another baby whom your daughter and son-in-law are willing to adopt should this become the plan for the baby.

The local authority has, it appears, started care proceedings and the mother is being assessed as any parent would be before decisions are made about the long-term care/placement of a child. Care proceedings normally take 6 months which is, I suppose, why you mention June as the time when a decision will be made.

In response to your question, whether the court extends the period, will depend on how the birth mother is doing, or if further evidence is required by the court before a decision can be made. Your daughter and son-in-law would be assessed to ensure that the placement will meet the child’s needs. If they have a positive assessment and the care plan for the child is adoption, then the court is likely to grant the local authority a placement order which give permission for the child to be placed for adoption.
You may find it helpful to read information about care proceedings in the link below:

https://frg.org.uk/get-help-and-advice/ ... ings-take/

Information relating to adoption is in this link https://frg.org.uk/get-help-and-advice/what/adoption/

I hope this is helpful, but should you wish to speak to an adviser you can telephone our free advice service on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).

Best wishes

Suzie

Celle
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:26 pm

Re: New Sibling

Post by Celle » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:33 pm

Thank you for your response, Suzie.

As my daughter understands it, BM has been under continued assessment ever since F and her older half sister were removed from her care 7.5 years ago. Children's Services have made several attempts to get BM to a meeting aimed at arranging a visit to see one or both of her daughters, but she has failed to attend any meetings. She has had no contact with her son, who is now 20 years old.
Children's Services assessed BM during her latest pregnancy and decided to remove the new baby (A) from her care, - under an existing Court Order. A spent 3 days in hospital and was then taken into foster care.

BM was given one "last chance" when F was born - there was at that time a Court order stating that F was to be removed from BM at birth. For 4 months, while BM and her two daughters lived with her parents, everything appeared to be going well. Then BM and her daughters moved to a flat on their own and things went downhill fast.

When F was 5 months old, her older sister (then aged 4 years) was found wandering the streets after midnight, crying and saying, "My baby sister is crying. She wants food and I don't know where my Mummy is." At the flat, F was found to be distressed and covered in sores and eczema. Both girls were removed, F into foster care and her half sister to the guardianship of her maternal grandparents.

The older sister was emotionally scarred by the experience of seeing a succession of men coming into the flat and seeing scenes of drug taking. She required counselling for several years and is a year behind at school.

The local authority team have indicated to our daughter and SIL that their preference is for the new baby to be placed with them for adoption. With a 25-year history of drug taking, proven child neglect, and having had 4 children removed from her care by Court order, BM seems unlikely to change her lifestyle dramatically at this stage and they are concerned for the life of the new baby if she is given into her BM's care.

F's birth father was known, but not named on her birth certificate. Likelihood of his paternity was confirmed by DNA testing. He indicated he wanted no part of his daughter's life and did not want to be updated about her at all.

The new baby's father is not known - he could be one of several associates - and no father is named on the birth certificate.

Children's Services will be beginning assessment of our daughter and SIL on Monday, with the first formal interview being held face to face by internet. They have already spoken by phone. CS has accessed the previous guardianship and adoption assessments (when F was placed with T and M) and indicated to T and M that they will be advising the Court that their preference is for the baby to be placed for adoption by them. They will be starting the documentation as soon as possible.

If A is given to our daughter and SIL, she will be welcomed and loved, just as F is.

Celle
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:26 pm

Re: New Sibling

Post by Celle » Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:12 pm

It appears that Children's Services are going to be as dilatory over the placement of the new baby as they were with F's placement. F was in foster care for 10 months.

Instead of the experienced social worker who spoke to T&M originally and assured them that Children's Services would expedite A's placement with them as quickly as possible, they now have a newly-qualified social worker, who has never dealt with this sort of thing before and who has taken no responsible action at all. He should have started requesting background checks, medical reports, police reports and character references for T&M, in the hopes of having at least some of these completed before the Court date in June.

The experienced social worker has "moved to a different team" and the new worker cannot act without first referring everything to his supervisor, who is on leave.

He has been to visit the birth mother and, without knowing the past history, has told her that she is in danger of losing her baby, but he will try to help her keep the child. He told her that "a young couple" want to adopt A, but he didn't say they were the ones who had already adopted F - because he didn't know. Now, BM is frightened A will be adopted outside the extended family and she has decided she will fight the adoption.

He told T that he is going to recommend that BM is placed, with her baby, in a residential home that takes 10 mothers and babies for 6 months' supervised care, while helping the BM to wean off drug addiction and learn how to care for her baby.

That might be appropriate for a young mother with a first child, but not for this birth mother, who is 39, who has a 25-year history of drug addiction, and who has had 3 previous children removed from her care. Each time, she has been capable of looking after a baby while supervised, but has quickly gone off the rails, gone back to her drug-taking life-style, and severely neglected the baby once she is living independently.

Z, F's older half sister (4 years old at the time), and F (4-5 months), were subjected to observing a string of men come to the birth mother's apartment for sex and drug taking, or were left on their own while BM went out looking for drugs. Z needed counselling for years and even F exhibited signs of fear when any man unknown to her came in her vicinity. At 15 months old, when she came to T&M, she would hug herself and whimper "Man!"

T has told the new social worker that she will be talking to his supervisor and insisting that he is made aware of all the BMr's prior history and he talks to her parents and Z, before he has any more contact with BM.

None of us wants to see A put through the same neglect and abuse that Z and F endured.
Last edited by Celle on Mon May 10, 2021 5:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Celle
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:26 pm

Re: New Sibling

Post by Celle » Sun May 02, 2021 12:08 am

A further update:
The baby is doing well in foster care and will stay there until at least the Court date, some time in June.
Our daughter and son-in-law's assessment by an adoption agency will start next week, with a face-to-face interview. The adoption agency is going to do all the required references, police checks, interview with their adopted child (who is half-sister to the new baby) and her school. etc.

If the Court's decision is for adoption to go ahead - which CS have said they will strongly advise - it will be adoption within the extended family and the new baby will have contact with both her half-sisters and her birth grandparents. Once/if an adoption is completed, the baby will be legally a sister to one of her birth half sisters.

Celle
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:26 pm

Re: New Sibling

Post by Celle » Mon May 10, 2021 5:50 am

A birth father has been found for baby A. It could have been any one of three men. Two agreed to a DNA test. One refused.

One of the two men tested is the birth father, as far as DNA tests can confirm. No father is named on A's birth certificate.
What rights does this probable birth father have?

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