XX, YY and Child H (Rev1) [2022] EWFC 10

7 Apr 2022

MRS JUSTICE KNOWLES:

This judgment is given ex tempore.

  1. I am concerned with a little boy called H who is about 17 months old. H is presently living with foster carers and he has been the subject of an interim care order since 23 September 2020.
  2. There are two applications before the court. The first is an application for a care order made by Nottinghamshire County Council on 4 September 2020 and the second is an application for a placement order, again made by the local authority, issued on 27 August 2021.
  3. The local authority is represented by Mr Jeffers of counsel. The first respondent to the proceedings is H's mother, XX, who is represented by her litigation friend, the Official Solicitor, and by Mr Fikry of counsel. I will refer to her as 'the mother' in this judgment. The second respondent is YY, represented by Ms Sapstead of counsel. He is H's father and I will refer to him as 'the father' in this judgment. H is represented by his children's guardian Mr Phillips, and by Ms Buttler. I am grateful to all of the advocates for the great assistance they have given me in what is a difficult case. All have said everything that they possibly could in support of their respective client's interests.
  4. This case was originally listed for hearing on three days, commencing on 16 November 2021. On the very first day, I acceded to an application to adjourn because the mother was unwell. I heard evidence on 17 and 18 November and, as a result of what I heard, I adjourned the proceedings part-heard until 18 and 19 January. I heard updating evidence on 18 January and submissions this morning. Those who gave oral evidence to the court were: (a) NH, the social worker for H; (b) SB, the parenting assessor; (c) DS, the contact worker; (d) SV, the mother's adult social worker; (e) the father, assisted by an interpreter; and (f) the children's guardian. The mother was present at the hearing in November 2021 but she has not been present during the hearing in January 2022 because she is heavily pregnant. Her due date seems to be in early March.
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