(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Black, Kitchin LJJ, 20 August 2013)
The mother of the one-year-old child, who suffered from learning disabilities, appealed care and placement orders on the basis that the judge had been wrong to find the threshold crossed either on the basis of actual or likely future harm and that it had been disproportionate to approve the local authority care plan for adoption.
The mother's older two children had been removed from her care and an independent social work report found the same concerns still remained and that the mother would need a high level of support in order to parent her child but that there remained concerns about her ability to work with professionals.
The judge questioned why if the level of support required was so high the child was being placed in the community. He did not consider the mother had made enough progress for that to happen and was not satisfied that she could look after and protect the child. He found the child would be at risk of harm which would outweigh the harm of taking her into foster care.
The Court of Appeal found that the judge had failed to afford sufficient recognition to the fact that the orders he was making were of huge consequence for the mother and child and should only be made as a last resort, as highlighted in Re B  UKSC 33. There was also no mention of s 52(1)(b) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.
The appeal was allowed, the orders overturned and the case remitted to the county court for rehearing.