A mother has lost her appeal against a special guardianship order which placed her children in the care of their paternal grandparents.
The case involved children who had been the subject of a child protection plan due to parental neglect.
A residency order was made and the children lived with their parental grandparents. The mother was allowed contact but wanted her children to be returned to her.
The local authority brought care proceedings after allegations of mistreatment were made against the grandparents and the children’s father.
The judge could see no evidence that the grandparents had behaved in any way that could be harmful to the children. He heard that the mother’s home was not a safe environment due to a risk of domestic violence.
He chose to issue a special guardianship order (SGO) to the grandparents.
The mother appealed the decision. She challenged the findings made against her, and the judge’s decision to issue an SGO rather than a child arrangements order (CAO).
The Court of Appeal upheld the decision. It would only consider overturning the judge’s decision if it was proven that it had been an irrational one or made without sufficient evidence.
That was not the case. The judge was entitled to listen to the professional advice from the local authority’s social and care workers.
As a specialist judge, he was also aware of the significant difference between an SGO and a CAO, and the variance they allowed the mother to exercise her parental responsibility.
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