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(Family Division, Pauffley J, 25 January 2013)
Following the fact-finding hearing which found the parents had been responsible for the child's fatal injuries the judge was asked to consider the maternal grandparents as long-term carers for the older two siblings, now aged 5 and 2. The guardian recommended the children should be adopted and concluded that the grandparents did not have the capacity to meet the needs of the children.
The children had been placed with the grandparents for approximately a month following the baby's death. That placement broke down following a heated exchange between the grandfather and the social workers. The grandparents had been requesting the mother came to live with them in order to care for the children and had reported that they were finding it difficult to manage the children. The parents agreed it was in the children's best interests to move to a foster home.
The evidence, in particular the breakdown of the first placement with the grandparents, indicated that they would find it difficult to meet the complex emotional needs of the children and that they were focused on their own nuclear family rather than prioritising the needs of the grandchildren. It was also clear that the grandparents would find it difficult to withstand pressure from the parents in relation to contact. Long-term placement with the grandparents raised the distinct possibility that the mother would view it as an opportunity to re-involve herself with the children.
The welfare of the children positively demanded that final care and placement for adoption orders were made.
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