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(Family Division, Baker J, 28 November 2013)
Two of the mother's children had died in infancy but a fact-finding hearing concluded that the mother was not responsible for their deaths, although she had neglected all three of her children. The surviving child was made subject to a care and placement order and during the proceedings a fourth child was born.
In proceedings concerning the youngest child all of the assessments of the mother were negative. She suffered from a learning disability and a personality disorder and was living in supported accommodation. While her life had become more settled there was still much concern about her history of relationships with men. The local authority submitted that the mother was vulnerable to abuse by men and that she lacked insight into the risk a child would be exposed to. The local authority now sought final care and placement orders.
In applying the balance sheet approach advocated by Re B  UKSC 33, Re B-S  EWCA Civ 1146 and Re W  EWCA Civ 1227, the judge considered the child's right to be brought up within her biological family and the progress the mother had made since the earlier proceedings, weighed against the comprehensive findings previously made against the mother and on the thorough capacity to change assessment. Having weighed all of the evidence the judge concluded that the child's welfare required him to make care and placement orders.
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