(Court of Appeal, Pill, McFarlane LJJ, 12 December 2012)
The three siblings, aged 7, 5 and 3 were removed from the parents' care. The mother suffered from a personality difficulty which led her to act impulsively and which the judge found caused the three children to have been physically and emotionally neglected to the extent that they had suffered significant harm.
When the mother gave birth to a fourth child proceedings were initiated by the local authority and the child was placed with foster carers when she was discharged from hospital. Since the previous set of care proceedings the mother had embarked upon Dialectic Behavioural Therapy to help her adjust her behaviour but while her psychiatrist noted the progress she had made he recommended that she would need at least 6 months further without worrying incidents before she could be given a positive bill of health.
The judge made a care order, dispensed with the consent of the parents to adoption and made a placement for adoption order. The parents appealed.
This had been a case which required the judge to make a judgment call on where the best interests of the child lay. It had not been a case that pointed all one way and there were positives in the parents' favour but it was not possible to conclude that the judge was plainly wrong. The appeal was dismissed.