(Family Division, Peter Jackson J, 17 July 2012)
A finding of fact hearing concluded that the, now 18-year-old, girl had become pregnant, when she was 16, and gave birth to a son as a result of a programme of artificial insemination using donor sperm carried out under the duress of the mother due to her desire to have another child.
The mother was charged with five offences of child cruelty to which she intended to plead guilty to three of those charges and, therefore, a custodial sentence was a real possibility. During care proceedings in relation to the girl's two younger siblings the mother sought a further assessment under s 38(6) of the Children Act 1989 by Resolutions.
The application for a further assessment was dismissed. The 7-year-old child, in particular, needed an urgent decision about whether she would remain in foster care and the court had ample information in order to make a decision.
Nothing in the evidence, particularly the psychological evidence, was sufficient to displace the earlier view that the mother presented a significant risk to any dependent child in her care. She had not yet started the process of moving on and had been posting comments online about the injustice of the child protection system. There was no doubt that contact with the mother was currently not in the best interests of the 7-year-old child. A substantial gap in contact was required to allow her to adjust to long-term foster care.
A final care order was made in relation to the 7-year-old child and provision was made for contact between the siblings. A s 34(4) order was granted to the local authority permitting them to prevent contact with the mother.
The 17-year-old child was to remain a ward of court and the mother was to keep the local authority informed of any proposed change of address but she would otherwise remain living with the mother in accordance with her own wishes.