Representing a troubled teenager

Kevin represented a child in early teens, through a Children’s guardian. The child was beyond parental control and had absconded on numerous occasions, thereby becoming at risk.

The case was listed by the court for a final hearing. By this time, the child had been placed with foster carers, and was enjoying a period of stability. The Mother was maintaining a positive relationship and was seeing her child regularly. The Mother and the Guardian supported the Local Authority plan that the child should remain in foster care, with regular visits to the Mother.

The Father did not have parental responsibility, and although he had been given the opportunity to be joined as a party, he had declined. It was agreed that the Father’s involvement should be carefully monitored, as he was seen as a negative influence.

Just days before the final hearing, there was contact by phone between Father and the child, following which the child absconded and the foster placement broke down. The child was placed with respite carers whilst the foster carers took time to consider whether they could continue to offer care. There were other complications because there was a second child in the home.

It was the Guardian’s view that, due to the child’s troubled past, and risk-causing behaviour, an only child placement would be preferable.

There was consensus between the Local Authority, the Mother and the Guardian that foster placement under a care order remained the only realistic way to safeguard the child’s welfare. The child wanted to be with a foster family.

The court heard submissions on behalf of each of the parties and agreed that it was appropriate to make a final care order enabling the Local Authority to find a suitable foster family in accordance with the Final Care Plan.