(Court of Appeal; Thorpe and Hughes LJJ; 19 March 2008)
In relation to two very disturbed children who lacked the ability to engage with others, the professionals recommended a specialist therapeutic foster placement for at least 6 months before a decision was reached as to their long-term placement. The authority plan was for adoption if possible. The judge granted placement orders with a view to eventual adoption of the children, to give the authority the greatest possible certainty and flexibility.
Allowing the appeal and setting aside the placement orders, adoption might be in the best interests of a child even if there was a real possibility that an adoptive placement would not be found, but in this case the judge's finding that adoption was in the children's best interests had been premature. These children had not been suitable for placement for adoption at the time the placement orders had been made, and it had not been known if they ever would be until after several months' placement with specialist foster-carers.