Judge boosts Newham couple’s hopes of adopting the boy they love
Court orders council to have a rethink into dashed adoption
A desperate couple who fell in love with the baby they wanted to adopt – but had him taken from them by Newham Council – have had their hopes of getting him back boosted by a top judge.
The little mixed-race boy, now aged five, lived with the couple for 17 months and they formed a parental bond with him before Newham social workers removed him last September.
The boy, referred to as “K” and who cannot be identified, has been living with a foster carer ever since, whilst his erstwhile “parents” launched a High Court bid to win him back.
Now top judge, Mr Justice Charles, has come to the couple’s aid by ordering the council to fully reconsider the case and whether the boy should be returned to them with a view to him at last becoming their adoptive son.
Although recognising that “hindsight is of course a wonderful thing”, he said the council should have given the couple “a full and informed opportunity” to meet its concerns and explain why the little boy would be best off with them.
The council’s handling of the case had been “procedurally unfair” and the judge remarked: “Sadly, I have to record that the evidence put in by the council and its disclosure fell well below the standards that the court and the the couple are entitled to expect”.
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After taking the little boy from the couple’s care, the council had acknowledged that that he “appeared to have settled well” with them.
A medical examination of the boy revealed he was in good health and there was no evidence that he had “been the subject of physical chastisement”.
But the council said it had received reports that the “father” had “been heard yelling or shouting at K” on several occasions and expressed concerns about the standards of hygiene in the home.
The council said the boy had been “exposed to conflict” between the couple and their neighbours and that it was “very concerned about the detrimental effect of the instability brought about by recent changes of address”.
The council said it was of the view that K had suffered “significant harm” and would continue to do so if he remained in the couple’s care.