The Grandparent Trap

Order removes children from care of grandparents and places them in foster care

grandparentGrandparents failed to overturn an interim care order placing their young grandchildren into foster care – even though they had not been ruled out as long term carers for the children.

In T (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 453, the two children aged 4 and 5 had been in the care of their paternal grandparents because their parents were unable to look after them due to drug and alcohol addiction. Both parents also suffered with depression and the father had “anger issues.”

The grandparents were initially assessed as special guardians when care proceedings began in May last year and the children were permitted to live with them.

The Local Authority argued, however, that the children had been so neglected by their parents that they now needed reparative parenting – and that they grandparents were not able to provide this.

The judge refused to rule out the grandparents as long term carers – however he ordered that the two children be put into a short term foster home to be assessed. The grandparents recently sought to overturn that order. They argued that, since they had not been ruled out as long term carers, it was illogical and disruptive to the children to uproot them.

The grandparents lost their appeal. It was held that the first judge had applied the correct test and satisfied himself that the immediate safety of the children was in jeopardy. The behaviour of the four year old boy had deteriorated sufficiently for him to be a danger to himself and his older sister. Both children were beginning to exhibit disturbed tendencies – a result of the chaos of their earlier years with their parents.

The grandparents appeared unable to deal effectively with the children’s needs or to appreciate the need to protect them from their son – the children’s father.

Lord Justice McFarlane acknowledged the children had been put into interim foster care despite an absence of any immediate physical danger to them whilst living with their grandparents. He ruled that the need to manage and address the emotional and behavioural needs outweighed the grandparents’ attempts to take care of the children. It was not in the interests of the children to leave them with their grandparents whilst finding out if the grandparents could learn the necessary parenting essay writing

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