Sandria acted for the Guardian in a case where the child was in placement with the Father, but the Local Authority were concerned about issues around neglect. The Mother had been suffering from some severe mental health issues, and was now accessing counselling and treatment.
Initially the LA sought removal, supported by the Guardian. However, the Guardian visited the Father at home one week after the initial visit and noted a vast improvement in home conditions in this short space of time. She also noted a good relationship between the Father and child, and took the view that removal was not now appropriate.
The Guardian was very new to her position and needed to feel that she was fully supported by experienced Counsel, which is why Sandria was asked to represent her at the hearing.
This was a case where the Guardian’s recommendations had changed, and Sandria’s support was needed to present this to the Local Authority in a positive way that enabled them to re-consider their position.
Sandria’s detailed knowledge of the case law surrounding removal under an interim care order, and the high hurdles required to support such a proposition, enabled her to convince them of the Guardian’s recommendations.
A placement was found out of area and the Father and child were to be taken to the placement shortly after the hearing. With Sandria’s assistance, it was agreed that the Father was to be given a good support package which included assistance with ensuring his own health issues could be managed, finding a nursery for the child, access to parenting classes within the area, and drug misuse referral. He was also to be given support with finding new accommodation – all this support was at the recommendation of the Guardian. Further parenting assessments were then to be carried out.