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23 MAY 2008


(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Wall and Stanley Burnton LJJ; 15 May 2008)

The child had maintained contact with the grandfather for the 18 months that he had been cared for by foster parents. The guardian had concluded that if the child remained in long-term foster care the child should have continuing direct contact with the grandfather, and that if the child were placed for adoption the adopters should be asked about the grandfathers continuing role in the childs life. The authority agreed, and revised the care plan accordingly, but failed to file the revised plan with the judge. At the hearing the grandfather sought to protect his future relationship with child by applying for amendment of the care plan before the court. Although the authority and the guardian did not object to the proposed amendment, the judge refused the application, on the basis that the grandfather represented a risk to the future placement of the child, in that he was susceptible to pressure from other family members and might reveal information to them inappropriately.

Allowing the appeal, the situation had developed as a consequence of the authoritys failure to place the revised care plan before the judge. During the childs time with the foster carers the grandfather had in no way undermined the childs placement, and had not given information to other members of the family that they should not have had. The judges finding had been contrary to the evidence.

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