What can I do?
it will depend at what stage of the proceedings you have reached and what orders have already been made. A child can only be adopted when three orders have been made – a care order, a placement order and finally, an adoption order. Care and placement orders are usually made at the same time.
- A care order allows the State to decide where your child should live and who spends time with him or her.
- A placement order allows the State to put your child with a family that may decide to adopt him or her.
- An adoption order confirms that this family is now the legal family and the birth parents no longer have any legal connection to their child.
So which situation are you in? This post will discuss only the LAST TWO. If you want to challenge a care order – see this post.
- Parents are currently in care proceedings and no final order has been made It is really important that parents argue their case in the care proceedings while they are happening – you need to engage with the case against you at the time as it may be too late to do anything to change the situation once a care order is made.
- Final care order made but no placement order. If a placement order hasn’t been made yet, you may be able to appeal against the care order or apply to discharge it.
- Final care order and placement order made – Parents can apply for leave to revoke a placement order under section 24 of the ACA 2002, IF:
- their child hasn’t yet been placed for adoption; and
- they can show a ‘change of circumstances’ since the placement order was made.
- The form to make an application to revoke a placement order is here.
- Potential adoptive parents have applied for an adoption order – Parents can apply for permission to contest the making of an adoption order under section 47(7) of the ACA 2002 but only if they can show a ‘change of circumstances’.
- The adoption order has been made – can I overturn it? – this is rare but possible. See discussion below.
Challenging an application for an adoption order
Don’t waste time
Remember – UK law is compatible with the ECHR
It is always better to make your challenges and objections during the care proceedings. It is essential to challenge a care order as soon as possible if you do not consider it was validly made – it is too late to wait until the time that applications are made to apply for adoption.
Don’t waste time arguing that UK law is not compliant with international law. In the case of G (A Child)  EWCA Civ 2638 (08 November 2017) the father wanted the court to declare that the Adoption and Children Act 2002 was not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal referred to Re CB (A Child) (No. 2) (Adoption Proceedings: Vienna Convention)  1 FLR 1286 in which Sir James Munby President said at paragraph 83:
“The second point is that, whatever the concerns that are expressed elsewhere in Europe, there can be no suggestion that, in this regard, the domestic law of England and Wales is incompatible with the UK’s international obligations or, specifically, with its obligations under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950. There is nothing in the Strasburg jurisprudence to suggest that our domestic law is, in this regard, incompatible with the Convention. For example, there is nothing in the various non-consensual adoption cases in which a challenge has been mounted to suggest that our system is, as such, Convention non-compliant.”
If you are arguing about the care proceedings when faced with adoption order – you’ve already lost
There is a useful and clear discussion about the process in the case of A and F (children)  where a mother argued that her children should not be adopted but this argument was based on an assertion that the care orders should not have been made in the first place. Therefore, she did not accept that any criticism could be made of her parenting and she was unable to engage with the essential steps to challenge her children’s adoption – that she must show ‘a change of circumstances’
As the Judge commented at para 26 of his judgment:
Indeed, the majority of the mother’s statement is concerned with the repetition and correction of perceived past wrongs sustained by her. This was also the position with regard to her oral submissions. This means that inevitably she does not accept as a “starting point” District Judge Shaw’s decision nor his findings. As a matter of logic, therefore, she finds it impossible to address the issue of “changes in circumstances” because broadly her parenting circumstances, when the children were removed, were perfectly acceptable and therefore no change is required. Accordingly, an intellectual impasse results.
So what do you have to do?
- Step One: establish a change of circumstances. The court has already decided by making a final care order that the parent has caused or is likely to cause a child significant harm. Therefore the parent must show the court what is different NOW. This is discussed in more detail below;
- Step Two: convince the court it is right to give permission to argue against an adoption order being made. This means that the court will look at all the relevant issues in the case and think about what the impact would be on the children. The children’s welfare is the most important consideration for the court. If the parent doesn’t succeed in getting permission, the matter ends there.
- Step Three: Persuade the court to refuse an adoption order IF a parent is given permission to argue against the making of an adoption order, they will have to persuade the court to reverse the direction in which the children’s lives have travelled since the Care and Placement proceedings. Obviously, the longer the children have been in their potential adoptive placement, the harder this will be.
Although the courts try to separate out the different questions, to make it easier to analyse the issues, it is clear that each question has the potential to be significantly wrapped up in the other questions. For example, the ‘prospect of success’ the court is looking at refers to your prospect of success in challenging the order, NOT your prospects of success in getting your child home.
However, if you have very little chance of persuading the court that the child should come home, that issue is certainly going to be on the court’s mind. It is very difficult to successfully challenge placement or adoption orders, as by the time such challenge is made the child has been living away from the parents for many months, even years and the court is going be worried about the impact on the child of possibly another move from a home where they may now be settled.
In Re L  2FLR 913 at paragraph 45, Lady Justice Black said this:
“When a judge considers a parent’s prospect of success for the purposes of section 47(5), he is doing the best he can to forecast what decision the judge hearing the adoption application is going to make having the child’s welfare throughout his life as his paramount consideration. What is ultimately going to be relevant to the decision whether to grant the adoption order or not must therefore also be material at the leave stage.”
STEP ONE – what does ‘change in circumstances’ mean?
It’s a matter of fact and it has to be relevant. Case law gives us the following principles :
- The test should not be so difficult that it rules everyone out – parents shouldn’t be discouraged from trying to improve their lives.
- The changes must be relevant to the question of whether or not leave should be granted – for e.g. if the worry was originally that you drink too much, have you stopped or cut down?
- The changes are not confined to those of a birth parent, but they may include changes occurring in the child’s life (see Re T  EWCA (Civ) 1369).
- The necessary change in circumstances … does not have to be “significant”; the question is whether it is “of a nature and degree sufficient, on the facts of the particular case, to open the door to the exercise of the judicial discretion to permit the parents to defend the adoption proceedings”: Re P (Adoption: Leave Provisions)  EWCA 616,  para 30 – discussed in Re T  in context of applying to revoke a placement order.
There is a useful article here by suesspiciousminds which considers the relevant case law in this area, and in particular the case of The Borough of Poole v W  EWHC 1777. The Judge concluded at paragraph 25 of his judgement that the parents could not succeed, despite making considerable changes to their lives:
I have considered this case with the most anxious care, considering how much is at stake, both for parents and prospective adopters who happily all have a real understanding of each other’s predicaments. However, above all what is at stake for SR? There can be no blame attached to any of the four adults for why we have all ended up where we have. Nevertheless, a decision of profound significance has to be made. In the end, I have reached a clear conclusion that there is only one route which will sufficiently safeguard the welfare of SR and that is the route of adoption.
My real concerns about SR’s ability to survive the process of rehabilitation and the parents’ ability to sustain her care, whatever her reactions throughout her childhood, when seen in the context of their fragility and of the consequences to SR of a failure of rehabilitation and the need to then start all over again. All those matters when drawn together, in my judgment, require that adoption be provided as the way of securing her welfare and therefore require that the court dispenses with the parents’ consent. In making the order which, in my judgment, promotes the welfare of SR, I fully recognise the grief of the parents who do not share my view and I recognise that I have no comfort to offer them, beyond letterbox contact. If ever an example was needed of how legitimate and heartfelt aspirations of parents can be trumped by the welfare needs of the child, this surely is it.
For an example of a case where a mother succeeded in appealing against the initial refusal to allow her to argue against a placement order, see the case of G (A Child)  EWCA Civ 119, discussed in this post by suesspiciousminds. The Court of Appeal agreed that a change to the child’s circumstances could also be relevant:
The “change in circumstances” specified in section 24(3) of the 2002 Act is not confined to the parent’s own circumstances. Depending upon the facts of the case, the child/ren’s circumstances may themselves have changed in the interim, not least by reason of the thwarted ambitions on the part of the local authority to place them for adoption in a timely fashion. I would regard it as unlikely for there to be many situations where the change in the child’s circumstances alone would be sufficient to open the gateway under section 24(2) and (3) and I do not suggest that there needs to be an in-depth analysis of the child/ren’s welfare needs at the first stage, which are more aptly considered at the second , but I cannot see how a court is able to disregard any changes in the child/ren’s circumstances, good or bad, if it is charged with evaluating the sufficiency of the nature and degree of the parent’s change of circumstances.
The case of P (A Child)  EWCA Civ 1483 (28 June 2018) allowed a mother’s appeal against the refusal to grant her an adjournment before making a placement order. Although there had been long standing concerns about her alcoholism, she had developed considerable insight and made significant progress – she had done ‘all’ that could be expected of her. The Court of Appeal rejected the suggestion that a six month adjournment served ‘no purpose’ given that the plan for a 6 month old baby was adoption.
Further reading about ‘change of circumstances’.
- See this post from the UK Human Rights blog – Challenging Adoption order using Human Rights.
- For an example of a case where an appeal against an adoption order did not succeed,see R (A Child) 
- For a case discussing what happened when a parent wanted to contest an adoption order by asking the court to look at fresh evidence, see the case ofG (A Child) .
- See C (Revocation of Placement Orders)  EWCA Civ 1598 (27 November 2020) and discussion of the case by The Transparency Project. Even a mother who was said to have made a ‘remarkable transformation’ to her life did not succeed in challenging the adoption of her three children.
- See also M (A Child: Leave to Oppose Adoption)  EWCA Civ 404 which highlights the importance of getting a transcript of the judgment which is challenged as soon as possible.
STEP TWO: If there is a change of circumstances, should the court give you permission to challenge the adoption order?
In relation to Step two this an issue of judicial evaluation or discretion which means that different judges can and do make different decisions but could not necessarily be challenged on appeal. ‘Exercising a discretion’ means you are making your own value judgment and there is usually a pretty wide range of possible outcomes that would be accepted. Provided of course that the Judge has applied the correct law and facts.
The parent must have ‘solid grounds’ for making the application. Paragraph 74(i) to (x) of Re B-S identifies the features to be weighed in the balance.
- Prospect of success here relates to the prospect of resisting the making of an adoption order, not the prospect of ultimately having the child restored to the parent’s care.
- The issues of ‘change in circumstances’ and ‘solid grounds for seeking leave’ are treated as two separate issues in order to analyse them BUT in reality they are inter-linked and one may follow the other
- If the Judge finds a change of circumstances AND solid grounds for seeking permission, the Judge must then consider child’s welfare very carefully.
- The judge must keep at the forefront of his mind the teaching of Re B, in particular that adoption is the “last resort” and only permissible if “nothing else will do” and that, as Lord Neuberger emphasised, the child’s interests include being brought up by the parents or wider family unless the overriding requirements of the child’s welfare make that not possible.
- But, the child’s welfare is paramount.
- To find out what the child’s welfare needs, the judge must take into account ‘all the negatives and the positives, all the pros and cons, of each of the two options, that is, either giving or refusing the parent leave to oppose. The use of Thorpe LJ’s ‘balance sheet’ is to be encouraged.
- The court needs proper evidence, but this doesn’t always have to be evidence from people speaking to the court. Often applications for leave can be fairly dealt with on written evidence and submissions.
- As a general proposition, the greater the positive change in circumstances and the more solid the parent’s grounds for seeking leave to oppose, the more significant must be the detrimental impact on the child if the court is going to refuse to give them permission to challenge the adoption order.
- The fact a child is now living with the prospective adopters or that a long time has passed, cannot determine the matter.
- BUT the older the child and the longer he/she has been living with the prospective adoptions, the worse it is likely to be to disturb that.
- The court should not attach too much weight to any argument that the proceedings are having an adverse impact on the prospective adopters – but this isn’t a trivial point and judges must try to minimise this impact by robust case management.
- The judge must always bear in mind that what is paramount in every adoption case is the welfare of the child “throughout his life”.
Given modern expectation of life, this means that, with a young child, one is looking far ahead into a very distant future – upwards of eighty or even ninety years. Against this perspective, judges must be careful not to attach undue weight to the short term consequences for the child if leave to oppose is given. In this as in other contexts, judges should be guided by what Sir Thomas Bingham MR said in Re O (Contact: Imposition of Conditions)  2 FLR 124, 129, that “the court should take a medium-term and long-term view of the child’s development and not accord excessive weight to what appear likely to be short-term or transient problems.” That was said in the context of contact but it has a much wider resonance: Re G (Education: Religious Upbringing)  EWCA Civ 1233,  1 FLR 677, para 26.
The court will be well aware of the seriousness of adoption and the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Re B  1WLR 1911.
See also W (A Child: Leave To Oppose Adoption)  EWCA Civ 16 (21 January 2020) where the appeal court agreed the parents should be given permission to argue against the making of an adoption order.
STEP THREE: Will the court reverse the ‘direction of travel’ for the child and refuse to make an adoption order?
It is quite rare for the court to refuse to make an adoption order. One example of such a case is A and B v Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council  which is the first since the 2002 Adoption Act. The court removed the child from the home of the potential adoptive parents – where he was settled – to live with his paternal aunt. It is clear that the court must consider the child’s welfare throughout his life – as the Judge commented here, this could mean 80 years or more.
The Judge commented at paragraph 95:
This case clearly requires taking both a short term and a long term view. C is currently very well placed with “perfect adopters”. They are a well trained couple with whom he is very well attached. He is of mixed race. They are both white and share with him that half of his ethnicity. A and B are “tried and tested” as has been said. His aunt and the principal members of the paternal family are black and share with him that half of his ethnicity. The aunt is a single person. She has not been “tried and tested” as a carer for C, but she has been observed as a carer of her own child, G, and thoroughly assessed as entirely suitable to care long term for C. There would be likely to be short, and possibly long term harm if he now moves from A and B to the aunt, but that is mitigated by his embedded security and attachments with A and B, and can be further mitigated by specialist training and support for the aunt, which she will gladly accept. The unquantifiable but potentially considerable advantage of a move to the aunt is the bridge to the paternal original family.
It is my firm judgment and view that it is positively better for C not to be adopted but to move to the aunt. In any event, I certainly do not consider that making an adoption order would be better for C than not doing so. Accordingly I must, as I do, determine not to make an adoption order and must dismiss the adoption application. Pursuant to section 24(4) of the Act, I exercise a discretion to revoke the placement order made in respect of the child on 2 August 2013.
The Judge had this to say about the ‘nothing else will do’ test at paragraph 15:
With so many Article 8 rights engaged and in competition, it does not seem to me to be helpful or necessary in the present case to add a gloss to section 1 of only making an adoption order if “nothing else will do”… Rather, I should simply make the welfare of the child throughout his life the paramount consideration; consider and have regard to all the relevant matters listed in section 1(4) and any other relevant matters; and make an adoption order if, but only if, doing so “would be better for the child than not doing so”, as section 1(6) requires.
If the balance of factors comes down against making an adoption order, then clearly I should not make one. If they are so evenly balanced that it is not possible to say that making an adoption order would be “better” for him than not doing so, then I should not do so. If, however, the balance does come down clearly in favour of making an adoption order, then, in the circumstances of this case, I should make one. I do not propose to add some additional hurdle or test of “nothing else will do”.
The decision of the Court of Appeal in July 2016 in W (A Child)  EWCA Civ 793 dealt explicitly with four very important questions:
- The approach to be taken in determining a child’s long-term welfare once the child has become fully settled in a prospective adoptive home and, late in the day, a viable family placement is identified;
- The application of the Supreme Court judgment in Re B  UKSC 33 (“nothing else will do”) in that context;
- Whether the individuals whose relationship with a child falls to be considered under Adoption and Children Act 2002, s 1(4)(f) is limited to blood relatives or should include the prospective adopters;
- Whether it is necessary for a judge expressly to undertake an evaluation in the context of the Human Rights Act l998 in such circumstances and, if so, which rights are engaged.
The court said this about the ‘nothing else will do’ test at paragraph 68 of their judgment:
Since the phrase “nothing else will do” was first coined in the context of public law orders for the protection of children by the Supreme Court in Re B, judges in both the High Court and Court of Appeal have cautioned professionals and courts to ensure that the phrase is applied so that it is tied to the welfare of the child as described by Baroness Hale in paragraph 215 of her judgment:
“We all agree that an order compulsorily severing the ties between a child and her parents can only be made if “justified by an overriding requirement pertaining to the child’s best interests”. In other words, the test is one of necessity. Nothing else will do.”
The phrase is meaningless, and potentially dangerous, if it is applied as some freestanding, shortcut test divorced from, or even in place of, an overall evaluation of the child’s welfare. Used properly, as Baroness Hale explained, the phrase “nothing else will do” is no more, nor no less, than a useful distillation of the proportionality and necessity test as embodied in the ECHR and reflected in the need to afford paramount consideration to the welfare of the child throughout her lifetime (ACA 2002 s 1). The phrase “nothing else will do” is not some sort of hyperlink providing a direct route to the outcome of a case so as to bypass the need to undertake a full, comprehensive welfare evaluation of all of the relevant pros and cons (see Re B-S  EWCA Civ 1146, Re R  EWCA Civ 715 and other cases).
The court was clear that there is NO ‘presumption’ or ‘right’ for a child to be brought up by natural family and that those assessing the case had wrongly believed there was – thus the focus on the impact of removing A from the only parents she had known for 2 years, was not properly considered.
The issue is only and always the child’s welfare. The matter was returned to another judge for a re-hearing. It will be interesting to know the outcome.
Time Limits for Appeals.
For more detailed discussion of the rules that apply to time limits, see this post about appealing against a care order. It is very important that you tell the court that you want to appeal and why you want to appeal within 21 days of the decision you want to challenge.
The court have considered appeals out of time in the case of re H (Children)  and emphasised how important it is to stick to time limits in children cases. Although the father in this case was allowed to appeal some 8 months after the first decision, the court emphasised that this was ‘exceptional’. See paras 33 and 34 of the judgment:
33.As a matter of law, if no notice of appeal is lodged during the 21 days permitted for the filing of a notice, a local authority should be entitled to regard any final care order and order authorising placement for adoption as valid authority to proceed with the task of placing the child for adoption. If that process has subsequently to be put on hold in order to allow a late application for permission to appeal to be determined, the impact upon the welfare of the child (particularly where prospective adopters who have been chosen may be deterred from proceeding) is also too plain to contemplate.
34. The problem that I have described is a necessary difficulty that arises from our system which contemplates that, notwithstanding the expiry of the 21 day period for lodging a notice of appeal, the court may, where to do so is justified, permit an appeal to proceed out of time. There will thus inevitably be a period after a late application for permission to appeal where time is taken to process the application before it is determined. Whilst accepting the inevitability of this source of, in some cases, highly adverse impact on the welfare of a child, every effort should be made to avoid its occurrence. One strategy which would seek to avoid the problem would be for the judge in every case where a final care and placement for adoption order is made to spell out to the parties the need to file any notice of appeal within 21 days and for the resulting court order to record on its face that that information was given to the parties by the judge. Secondly, this court and any appellate judge in the Family Court, must continue to strive to process any application for permission to appeal in a public law child case with the utmost efficiency. Finally, the fact that an application for permission to appeal which relates to a child in public law procedure is out of time should be regarded as a very significant matter when deciding whether to grant ‘relief from sanctions’ or an extension of time for appealing.
The adoption order has been made – can I challenge it?
This is very rare – but possible. However, those cases where adoption orders have been overturned appear to rest on procedural flaws in the application, not on the merits or otherwise of the adoption. The Websters for example, were denied the opportunity to challenge the adoption of their children on the basis that the children had lived apart from them for so long, it would not be in the children’s interests to remove them from their adoptive homes.
The case of, ZH v HS & others  EWHC 2190, gives a clear example of how mistakes made in how the adoption order was applied for and made, were so serious that they undermined the whole basis for the order and it was set aside.
T and her mother ZH tried to come to the UK from Somalia to claim asylum .T ended up with the maternal aunt and uncle who asked social workers to help them regularise T’s status with them. They didn’t get legal advice but went to a CAB and filled in the forms to make an application to adopt T, saying ZH was missing – as they didn’t know where she was. T’s mother then managed to enter the UK two years later. She was clearly out of time to appeal against the making of an adoption order so she applied under the court’s inherent jurisidiction to set it aside. Every one agreed by the time this got to court in 2019, this was the right thing to do and T should be looked after by her mother.
The court was very critical about how the adoption order ever came to be made, calling the process ‘flawed’ and ‘replete with errors and omissions’, not least the correct notice wasn’t given to the LA and there were no checks on the uncle and aunt and no guardian appointed for T.
It is indeed really worrying to think that such an application got through a court process without anyone apparently noticing such significant procedural failings and there is no surprise that the High Court found these errors were so serious they tainted the whole process; the adoption order could not stand.
However, we are waiting for the Court of Appeal’s full judgment on another case where a mother has attempted to use the inherent jurisdiction to over turn an adoption order – her appeal was dismissed in June 2021 and it will be interesting to read the full reasons.
See further Julie Doughty’s discussion at The Transparency Project, ‘Can an adoption order be undone?’
I have taken the photograph above from this blog post – How does it feel to be adopted?
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is it right that my 2 year old son was removed from my care placed with a foster family and received human bite marks on his arm also dog bites on his ear an back, as his mother I raised this with social services,he was taken for a medical subsequently he was placed with another family rather than returned to me and his sister then after proving myself to social services my son was being returned to me, social services still wanted me to go to regression therapy for severe sexual assault when I was 9 years old I’m now 43 I agreed even though I really didn’t want to relive it all over again, as you can imagine being raped age 9 an every weekend until I was 11 was extremely traumatic experience nevertheless I was willing to do anything to get my son home with his family, my other child is transgender had anorexia and was close to death, after a very distressing phone call to establish how much the abuse still affected me I relapsed an used drugs once I told social services about this myself as I wanted to be honest, before you judge me and think I’m some useless junkie that doesn’t look after my children this is not the case, my children were never witness to any drug use that being said I agree it impairs your parenting along with drinking alcohol but people imagine a train spotting situation, although they think nothing of a family in a pub !!! Anyway due to my honesty social services done a complete turnaround saying and I quote “we told you if you use once he goes for adoption ” surely this is unfair when my parenting assessment was completely positive they couldn’t fault me on anything, since then my son is being placed for adoption what about his human rights like being able to be raised by his blood family also his siblings right to have there family together and my right to protect my child from being another victim of social services messing up and not supporting me to keep my family together I love my children and because I was abused as a child and was failed by the system I was raised in ie social services care homes now my children are being punished. Social services leave children in the same area as myself with parents who have no heating, food, in fact the basis but they still have their children with them?????? How is this right??? My house is spotless warm and my children are well nourished with food as well as love attention and warmth emotionally. Is it fair to tear a family apart rather than admit you have made a mistake and work with a family not destroy it
The starting point should always be to work with families. I accept this doesn’t always happen. Again, I am struck by the lack of any mention of your lawyer in this narrative. If the LA were making mistakes or being unfair in their analysis, did your lawyer challenge this as the case proceeded?
I am sorry you feel so badly let down. But I think it is a sad fact that many people do not get the support they need at the time they need it, and this inevitably will have consequences for how care proceedings unfold. I don’t think this is anyone’s fault but the way in which our system operates, and this needs to change.
I have been vunreble woam I was raped twice when I was 14 by 20 I fine the man who took care of me who loved me then blady social services involved in my life they distroyd me I hade two beautifull kiks in a lovly house good invayrument they ttok it of of me tghey sais cusi have been raped before thet can happen to my kids its not fair and its not my fall I hete social services honestly people don’t let them in your family life they not there to help they here to take familys a part
I am really sorry you have had this experience Natalia. I wish it could have been different for you.
its terrible well more than terrible its totally heartbreaking the same happened with my grand daughter not quite the same circumstances.How utterly devasting for you its disgusting that you and your children have to suffer because of something that was out of your control as a child to stop its like they want to twist the knife a bit more so what are they saying any one that has been sexually abused as a child shouldnt go on to have kids.All thats gonna do is help.all the abusers out there u think about it they can say all sorts in connection to keep their victim quiet like your brothers/sisters etc will b taken if u tell the list is endless and to top it off i know i would feel like the abuser has yet again abused me again in a different way if u know what i mean.My daughter was told by ss her parenting was fine thete was no problem there but my gd was adopted on the grounds of may b at risk of future emotional harm if my daughter maybe mite choose the wrong type of partner what an absoulote joke that could be any one of us that mite do that it makes me so angry and as with you there r families in our area of 4,5,6 even 11 jids being dragged up but they r left to get on with it .Id love to know how ss determine theyre next victims
They do seem to revictimise sexual abuse victims. It is all rather random though as so many woman ( and men) have been victims of sexual abuse yet can be good parents. It seems that if childrens services are involved they can jump on the mental health bandwagon especially “experts” in family court diagnosing personality disorders instead of distress or PTSD because of CS involvement.
SACKING YOUR SOLICITOR AND YOUR BARRISTER !
[Abuse follows. Have deleted it]
Ministry of justice :- Official Judicial statistics
In 2011, there were 32,739 children involved in disposals of public law cases, including 31,515 orders made, 792 applications withdrawn, 350 orders of no order and 72 orders refused. What chance did those parents have as (to quote L.J.Thorpe) “parents are so prejudiced in proceedings” ? [AND WHAT WERE THE ORDERS MADE? Were they care orders? or SGOs? Or supervision orders? etc, etc. You can’t just cite these statistics as ‘proof’ that parents always lose. That isn’t what these statistics say]
MOST OF THE PARENTS WHO DO WIN ARE THOSE FEW WHO REPRESENT THEMSELVES ! [This is simply untrue. If you take Ian Josephs advice about refusing to co-operate and viewing social workers as ‘scum’ then you are almost guaranteed to lose your case as you will be seen as unreasonable and probably with mental health difficulties]
IF YOU DON’T SPEAK IN PERSON YOU NEARLY ALWAYS LOSE [Not true, or certainly not true in my experience]
[I have deleted what follows as I think it is extremely bad and dangerous advice to vulnerable people. Mr Josephs can peddle this nonsense on his own site, it is not welcome here]
[This at least is sensible] REPRESENTING YOURSELF:- Remember that you can be supported by a McKenzie friend ; also if English is not your first language you have the right to have an interpreter always with you in court !
If you have never attended a court before; these 3 videos by barrister LUCY REED explain exceptionally clearly ,how to prepare for court ,what happens there, how to present your evidence and how to ask questions of “opposition witnesses”.
The Family Justice Council has funded two short films for litigants in person in the family courts. The films are accessible on the advicenow website.
The first film looks at how an individual without a lawyer should represent him or herself in court about a family problem. The film looks at the questions people who have represented themselves have said they worried about most and shows simple tips for presenting their case. The film is here.
my son has been taken of me by the courts and social services. my social worker told all lies and the courts know they was telling lies even the person who was talking on behalf of my baby told the a lie she said I was in foster care myself and when my solicitor asked her where she go all her information from she told my solicitor and the court it was from the social worker them self as I have moved about a lot when I was young plus with my family life back ground I was even told by my social worker that she did not want to take my son of me she wanted me and my family to do some thinks to keep my son witch me and my family did but yet again that was all lies from her
Hi am So sorry to hear your story…
my two sons sons were all so take well kidnapped by slough social servers I have a past but had changed my life around for the better for me an my baby an I will name an shame [NAMES REDACTED. Sorry, I am not going to post these names here for obvious reasons. I don’t know if they will agree with what you say about them and its not fair].
thease are the social workas for slough who told lied made accusations assumptions made false allegations I worked with [NAME REDACTED]for over 12 months & it was very hard working with her personality she was challenging me an intimidating me an I passed everything blood test hair test parenting test an she was applying to the court for a one year supervision order… meaning I was keeping my baby with me an would have a sw call out to see me every week or 2 in the mean time I got back together with my baby farther I got pregnant again an was very sick I selected medical attention an left my baby in safe hands with his farther[NAME REDACTED]commend on how well my baby was looked after by his farther but could not stay with his farther I agreed with her for my baby to go in to care until I was out. Of hospital an was better to take care of him I seen him every day for 2 to 3 hours a day unsupervised few days later I was better an chanted my baby back she then never let my baby come back an said its because I left my baby with his dad an when I was in a dark place in my passt I made a false allegation that my baby farther had hit me …he was arrested an put on remand for 5 months then in front of a jury of 15 he was found not guilty the sw [NAME REDACTED]said she keeping my baby boy in care until they take it to court for a fact finding I didn’t sign any forms an with in a week we was back at court jugs McIntyre from reding magistrates court said she is willing for my son to be returned home….
But then [NAME REDACTED] said that while I was seeing my baby 2/3 hers a day it was supervised so the court was adjourned again she told lies… so I got my proof next week back at court [NAME REDACTED] said that’s when they whant a fact finding an reports from a mantel health doctor… the fact findings come back as a fact don’t no how coz he was not guilty in front of 15 jury… reports come back not very good on my baby farther but was all pasts history even the false allegation I made was all befor my baby was born nothing as happened cine my baby as been born [NAME REDACTED].didnt do any proper assessment on my baby farther but cratered to bring his personality down an put a bad name on him an on paper made him out to be someone he’s not… an there are no reports from police no complaints nothing about him….. all just assumptions… accusations…allegations that they had put down on paper even the guardian [NAME REDACTED]told lies in her statement there were to many lies on paper an in the sw staitents [NAME REDACTED].so then coming to the end final court hearing with my to baby together the judge ms cussing just read all the paperwork by submission an no one got to gave everdance an the juge whent with the social work placement plan an commented on how well iv dune ……..noooooo am not going to accept that an my boys have been with potential adopters for 4 months naw an no application as been made for adoption but I need help pllz on how too go adout appealing because I keep knocking on the wrong door I love my baby boys Moore than words can say an I will do anything to get them back no matter what it takes I deserve a chance an that was stoling away rom me is all’s we want is to give are boys the best that they deserve an no one will love them like me an there farther we will do what it takes anything an everything if there is anyone who could possibly help or have any advise welcome thank you for taking the time for reading this……………
I am sorry, but it is really difficult to appeal against a fact finding. I note that you yourself made a complaint about the baby’s father, although you now say it was not true. It is possible for him to found ‘not guilty’ in a criminal court but still have a finding of fact made against him in a family court, because there are different standards of proof in these courts. Criminal courts require evidence ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, family courts require evidence ‘on a balance of probabilities’ which is a much lower standard.
I am afraid the fact that you accused him of violence but then said you had made a false allegation is quite worrying just on that basis. You can only appeal against the making of a placement order if you can show a change in circumstances since the order was made. You probably won’t get any help with paying for legal representation.
There might be someone/some organisation who can help you here.https://childprotectionresource.online/legal-advice/
My partner and I have been informed that the local authority are wanting to put our two angels into adoption. They went into temporary foster care last September and we have contact three times a week. My partner has mental health problems (Emotional Instability with BPD) but is currently attending therapy, so at times she can struggle with them. We have done everything that the court has told us to do even by going on a parenting course (Incredible Years) on our own volition. Is their anyway that we can prove that our boys should not go into adoption as we find it will be detrimental to them?
It is going to depend a lot on what stage of the proceedings you are at and what the concerns are about your parenting. You might find this post helpful https://childprotectionresource.online/category/i-dont-want-my-child-to-be-adopted/
It sounds like you are are quite far into care proceedings as you mention doing everything the court has asked. What are the LA saying about this? If they don’t think the intervention has succeeded why? What else can be done?
the test for adoption is ‘nothing else will do’ it’s a strong test.
I had my little girl for 15 mouths the social worker has taken her be for court and we had only seen are little girl 3 time for contacts are little girl gos up for adoption on Monday we what are little girl home were she belongs at home with her real family we every got help from the social worker s I am not giving up when we he’d are little girl she use to talk and now she has stope talking she is my life and we love her so if there is anyone out there please help us get are little girl back x
Dear Helen, Did the Social Workers inform you at the start that you have a right to an independent advocate to support you at cp meetings and so on and give you a list of those available to you locally?
Did they enable you to circulate your agreements and disagreements with concerns to the other professionals in advance before decision-making meetings? Did they follow other working- together frameworks of the Children’s Act and offer support to you in order that your baby might live at home? Did they call a family conference and examine all less intrusive alternatives such as an extended family placement?
Or did they forget? If they did, look up Family Rights group (FRG) AND VISIT ITS WEBSITE QUICKLY. Find out your rights i.e. which ones have been abused and engage with your lawyers before Monday.Also check out the placement order application for truth and/or the details given for the hearing on Monday.If they are not factual then you must instruct your lawyer to tell the Judge immediately and if the Judge grants an adoption, I would request permission to appeal straight after the hearing. There is no other remedy for you if the case hasn’t been conducted correctly.
Go to the FRG RIGHT NOW AND TELEPHONE THEIR ADVICE LINE FOR URGENT ADVICE. In particular ,mention it to the adviser if the SW did not arrange a Family Conference and consider a family placement.
I have a year d that has been put up for adoption now I have to go through the high courts to stop it is there anything I can do to take this.further to get her back home
It depends on so many different things I am afraid, it’s impossible to advise you on a site like this. It will all depend on what stage of the proceedings you are at – has a potential adoptive home been found for your child? What are you saying the court got wrong or could have done differently in your case? It’s a complicated area and you are going to need to sit down with a lawyer and get some proper advice. There may be some information here that is helpful about finding some legal advice. https://childprotectionresource.online/legal-advice/
hello hat i get help from here am waiting for court my child been taken when she bon am been first child and now am dad i have 3 time problem with police am scard my child go to adopted Social
keep rpeting me maybe she go adopted as father i how my child how much i love her i give up work because social dint change time to meet my child they did morning they now am working but any way i give up work i do what they say just waiting for court i hop she coming home but i dont whant go adopted
Alan. The SW should have put you in touch with an advocacy service locally to explain issues to you and to explain your feelings to the cp professionals. Did they? Do you know if you have parental responsibility for the child? Are you married to Mum? Have you been fully involved in any proceedings or have you been ignored?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, get an advocate to advise you quickly. Contact the Family Rights Group (FRG) website immediately and telephone their helpline. Just because you have been in trouble with the Police before doesn’t mean the baby must be taken for adoption even if you were done for child-abuse. The child has human rights one of which is a right to live with extended natural family.
The place to go to is the FRG.
I’m a parent not a professional. I’m sorry you are so scared. I think that it will be hard to help you without more facts and a good discussion without someone who can really understand what the problems are/ seen to be. Can I suggest you phone the ‘Family Rights Group’ helpline – 0808 8010366. Be sure to tell them if you need them to slow down, or to put everything in an email so you can read it again and again so you are sure you understand everything.
Have you gotten anyone supporting you?
Do you have a good relationship with your family and does your partner have a good relationship with hers? Can you use this in any way to put parenting support in place if the LA believes this is needed?
hello i dont have family in uk no am single man i need big help sosil keep ask me maybe she go adopted on my mind sosil work dont help me any thing thy try to be win to take my child i even dont talk with mum they take my child becouse mum have problam
Alan, you should have a lawyer if this is going to court. Please do speak to your lawyer urgently.
Alan, Just a suggestion, If you are from another country you should go to the Embassy or consulate for assistance. Are you and Mum married? If you aren’t legally wed ,I suggest you apply immediately to the High Court and register parental agreement. For that you will have to go to the register office, get the forms and make a signed parental responsibility agreement with Mum.
Otherwise go to the FRG for advocacy. If you are foreign ,as I suspect, for legal advice and interpretation consult the consulate or embassy as I have suggested above. I think they have a duty to help you.
I am getting really emotional because my social worker says if Noone can help me parent than the next option is adoption. It’s abuse not just towards me but my babies. I’m in there life and they are considering that as a last resort and I don’t come from a big family and don’t have alot of friends who can help. My dad’s side won’t help and they already terminated my mom’s rights to care for my kids. I’m hopeless and working my ass off.
Courtenay, I don’t know if you are in the UK, but if you are the State has an obligation to try and help support you and you will have access to free legal advice and help if you are in care proceedings. Please see your lawyer urgently.
Me & my ex partner had a child together she gave birth. A few months after he was born we broke up she was suffering with post natal but refused to get help which was effecting her parenting ability and she started to neglect our son. He was then put into care on a section 20 order so his birth mum still had parental right. I have jo parental rights because we were not married. The boy has my surname bit the law states that doesn’t mean anything. Later on it was announced in court that is birth mum had made an admission that our son was not conceived through sperm donation but she was having an affair which I was unaware of. A dna was done on the potential father and it was positive so he has some form of parental rights but not much. For 2 years I have been fighting spent thousands trying to get my boy back in my care, I did an assessment for special guardianship order which was negative mainly due to hostility between me and his birth mother even though she stated she wants nothing to do with her son. His father has a positive assessment but social services didn’t want him to have him so they placed him with his paternal great aunt and uncle who had no full assessment to only a viability assessment & the uncle has MS. he was there for a few months until the uncle declared his MS made it a struggle for him to care for the 18 month old so he was put back into care in a foster to adopt. The local authority now want him adopted and we have a final hearing in September where we find out if he will be adopted and whether it will be a closed or open adoption if it is open I will get to send a letter once a year and his father will see him twice a year if it’s closed neither of us will see him or send letters ever. His father applied for a discharge of care order but obviously it didn’t work. I appealed my negative assessment nothing happens. I feel like the system has failed me all because I wasn’t married to his birth mum and because of a huge lie by her and his father about conception when I believed it was done by sperm donation from a donor we both found but she was having an awesome affair with his father as well as using sperm donation. I am now going to lose my son my only child for good and I have no idea what else I can do. I have no solicitor as I have ran out of money so I am left representing myself and have no idea how and nobody takes notice of me in court. I am classed as three phycological mother but even this gives me no right. Can I apply for parental rights even though he is in a foster to adopt placement if anyone knows if I can please let me know. I’m sure his dad would sign a parental agreement form but his birth mother wont as nobody has contact with her and she wants nothing to do with any court proceedings regarding her son. Any advice would be greatly appreciated because I am around 2 months away from losing my little boy who is no 2 forever all because I chose to have a child with another women who chose to lie about conception.
I am really sorry to hear this. As the psychological parent you certainly have rights under Article 8 of the ECHR, but equally the court will see the rights of the child as ‘paramount’ so from the history you set out, it seems unlikely that you would persuade any court to reverse its current journey, if the fight has been going on for 2 years. But of course, I can’t give any definite advice without knowing the full circumstances of what is going on.
There maybe someone who can help here https://childprotectionresource.online/legal-advice/
pleses sign and share this as me and my fiancee really dont want our boys being put up for adoption so please please sign our petition
[Comment by SP – I was going to redact this but on reflection I will not, having considered this http://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/can-parents-publicly-petition-against-care-orders/
But I will say that petitions like that are highly unlikely to achieve anything for the parents. The place to contest the local authority care plan is in the court. A judge won’t make a decision or refuse to make a decision because of a petition}
FURTHER EDIT – sorry, I was wrong about the above. This is in breach of section 97 of the Children Act 1989 so I can’t publish it. Apologies.
I am too a victim of the social service nightmare; there twisted lies and deciets have left to yours of break downs for decent well lived family I hope they rot as they should.
My toddler has been place under an adoption order. He was completely dependant on me, my family and trusted the life I will have taught him.
I raised them in good faith of the lord and the courts failed to offer the faithfully justice in this;
Denying sight if the child ever again.
I believe a role reversal was needed; no matter what £ isnt nothing compared to psycially tearing little babies away
I believe a role reversal was needed; no matter what £ isnt nothing! All that compared to a priceless gift gift god and YOU! psycially tearing little babies away from there mams
Follow this link for free help and advice also possibly advocacy if you reside in London. You will find they have discussion forums and a telephone help line plus downloadable information sheets. If you have any trouble reading and writing and unable to stand up for your family, advocacy locally is essential particularly if the Local Authority has already abused its position and ignored Working Together Frameworks. If you are vulnerable, then they tend to take advantage by many reports.
Two questions if you don’t mind answering them for us.
1. Did the Social Worker tell you that you needed an advocate and were you given the contact details of one locally?
2. Did the Social Worker call a family conference and consider an extended family placement?
This assumes there can be evidence of change, There may have been nothing wrong in the first place.
The fact that a family court was persuaded to make out a care order that there was significant harm or likely to be significant harm does not make it true as it is virtually impossible for a family to win a case and the family court virtually always accedes to the LA;s allegations.
So it may bot be possible to “Show Change”.
In the case of “Stuart” ir seems incredibly cruel to send the two children for adoption on the basus of mental health problems of the mother.
However one question he needs to investigate the BPD diagnosis, since BPD is very serious, but a highly controversial diagnosis.
Ifit is another condition, it should not make the “no other alternative” test.
I spent 40 thousand pounds fighting in court to keep my granddaughter social services Brought up my past I work with special needs all they did was take an innocent little girl I believe it’s child trafficking it’s broken my heart.
I am sorry to hear this. Do you have any support in real life? Someone to talk to? There are quite a few charities that help and support grandparents, maybe one of them could help. Try this organisation https://www.cmoptions.org/en/separating/other-useful-organisations/partners/gpa.asp
I to must confess my son is a victim of my abuse.
I had lost natal depression back in 2017 after having him, for the first 6 weeks things were great, but he became ill and being premature it affected him quite badly. He was placed on life support, and my mental health deteriated. When he eventally made a full recovery my mental health as it were not treated got bad. So i rang up social services and asked for help and support, all i wanted was for a nite restpite so i could see my dr and start some treatment. They assured me this would be fine and i was doing the right thing and that all parents should act as responsibile as me, i took great comfort in that. Only 2 days later i felt i was able to now have my son home and i had my plan in place to protect him from any affect my mental health would bring to him. But this wasn’t good enough and they got a care order and seek to adopt. Two years on im stable I’ve taken about 120 courses have child protection qualiforcations, mental health qualiforcations and much more, i have litrally bent over backwards and am now more than capable to look after my son, having no evidence against me they now want to have my son adopted on the grounds i have not listened him for two years. While that may be True to a varying extent i have had times where i have shown exceptional parenting during contact and also indirect parenting such as making decisions etc for him. This system is corrupt and not built for people like us who have been abused. They put my mental health down to abuse yet it does not affect me, yes it was traumatic, an I going to let it ruin my life NO I’m not, I’ve buried that where it belongs which is in the past. I can’t change what happened, so it’s pointless letting it consume me. Courts do not carry much weight on parents evidence which they must have all documents for such as certicifates, support statements etc. But yet local authotities get away with writing it and it’s instantly true, even when challenged with actual black and white evidence. I feel very sorry for your situations here and i can only pray that one day we and our children get the justice they deserve.
I am sorry to hear this. It is hard to ask for help and have that used against you.
I would like to appeal a d decision that was being made with me being presented
I think you are going to need specialist legal advice. You do have a right to appeal but time limits are quite short – 21 days from date of decision. You can ask for permission to appeal beyond that time but obviously the more time that goes by, the more difficult it can be to persuade the court.
ACS accused me of neglect only reason I’m asking could appeal because it was default and mistake
My 3 older children where adopted with out me being presented and it’s also was a default and a mistake and my 2 younger children are in care I’ve done everything I have a 2 bedroom and plus my threpist said even tho I have history with ACS I’m stable