Helping a young mother with learning difficulties to accept the help of grandparents

Michael acted for a young mother who has learning difficulties and, subject to assessment, may lack litigation capacity, requiring the assistance of the Official Solicitor or alternatively an Intermediary. The children’s father is also believed to have learning difficulties.

Both parents have a history of chaotic childhoods and lifestyles, neglect, and of being in care themselves as children. The child in the proceedings is less than one year old, and was referred to social services just a few weeks after birth, due to concerns.

The parents separated when the child was a few months old, since when the mother’s choice of relationships (including her current partner) have given the local authority some concern.

Prior to the issue of proceedings the child was being cared for on a regular basis by other family members, including long weekends and the Christmas period – following which the mother agreed to the child remaining with them.

Proceedings were issued when the mother withdrew her consent to the child remaining with the relatives.

At an initial contested interim care order/removal hearing, with Michael’s support and advice his client accepted that she was struggling to cope with the care of her child. She did not want to consider the possibility of a mother and child foster placement as suggested by the Guardian, but agreed to the child being placed with the relatives with an interim Child Arrangements Order (and PR) in their favour (with an Interim Supervision Order to the local authority) pending assessments.

The proceedings are ongoing and listed for a Case Management Hearing.