(Court of Appeal, Arden, Rafferty, Ryder LJJ, 29 July 2013)
The now 17-month-old child had lived with her paternal grandmother for over a year following a violent incident between the parents. The parents accepted that the threshold had been met and that neither could care for the child. The grandmother applied for a special guardianship order. Despite having a care plan for an adoptive placement the local authority had failed to begin placement proceedings.
No copy of the authority's permanence report was provided to the court. The children's guardian opposed the removal of the child from the grandmother, stating that removal would be devastating for her. The judge held that the care order with a view to adoptive placement should be made. The grandmother, supported by the parents and the guardian appealed the order.
The appeal was allowed. There was no permanence report providing an analysis of the risks of the child remaining with the grandmother and the advantages of adoption. There was no evidence about why an adoptive placement was necessary and the social worker's report did not set out why such a significant step as permanent removal from the family was required. The judge's conclusion was neither evidenced nor reasoned and was, accordingly, wrong. The case was remitted for an urgent rehearing.