Child destined for adoption has successfully transitioned into Grandmother’s care just in time for Christmas
After having a negative assessment to care for her granddaughter, a grandmother has successfully challenged the outcome resulting in the child being placed in her care all in time for Christmas.
Mrs Ward put herself forward as an alternative carer for her granddaughter, Poppy, in the event the mother was deemed unable to care for her. She was removed from the mother’s care and placed in foster care due to issues with unsuitable relationships and mental health issues.
The Local Authority negatively assessed Mrs Ward stating that her previous difficult relationship with her daughter would prevent her from providing good enough care to her granddaughter.
Helen Moody, specialist Kinship Care Solicitor commented; “It seemed to me on looking through the assessment and speaking with Mrs Ward, that matters had moved on since the assessment had taken place and that actually, there was merit in Mrs Ward successfully caring for the child. The Local Authority however, until challenged, had advised the grandmother that the assessment stood and that they would be looking at alternative options for Poppy, including adoption outside of the family. This was of course, not something that Mrs Ward could comprehend and we therefore made an application to the Court to challenge the assessment. The result of this was that the Local Authority agreed that a different assessor would re assess Mrs Ward’s suitability”.
The Local Authority’s new assessment was positive with a recommendation that Poppy should be placed with her grandmother.
Mrs Ward commented; “I was thrilled with the outcome of the second assessment. Whilst I accept that myself and my daughter have not had a brilliant relationship in the past, we have worked hard on resolving our differences and I know that I can put my granddaughter’s needs first. I could not let Social Services try to adopt Poppy out of the family”.
The Local Authority, with agreement from the Court, made plans for Poppy to be placed with her grandmother before Christmas. Mrs Ward and the child’s mother were over the moon.
“To say I am happy is an understatement. To have Poppy in my care in time for Christmas is amazing. It is the best Christmas present I could have asked for!” explained Mrs Ward.
“This highlights the importance of seeking specialist legal advice if you have been assessed negatively. Assessments are challengeable. It is the Court who makes a final decision for the child and therefore just because the Local Authority do not consider you a suitable carer, does not mean that you should be ruled out as a carer. Particularly in cases where the alternative is likely to be adoption, potential carers have to be thoroughly assessed and the Local Authority have to look seriously about whether any potential risks can be ameliorated by offering support to the carer”, explains Mrs Moody.
If you have been ruled out by the Local Authority as a carer for a child but you do not agree with the contents of the assessment, it is vital that you obtain independent legal advice. Here at Ridley & Hall, we have a specialist team who would be able to advise you on whether it would be challengeable and legal aid may be available.