Supporting a Mother with learning difficulties

Sandria represented the Mother in a case involving her second child. The first child (a child with significant special needs) had already been placed in an SGO, and the Mother, Father and second child, a baby, were initially placed in a Parent and Child Foster placement. Both parents had a degree of learning difficulty.

However, the Father left the placement following serious allegations by the Mother of abuse and forced sexual intercourse, and Police were involved. Initially the Mother agreed to remain separate from the Father and to be further assessed as a single parent. Unfortunately she was unable to sustain separation, and withdrew her allegations to the Police. She decided to leave the placement, and return to living with the Father.

Upon the Mother leaving the placement an emergency hearing was sought. The Local Authority wished to seek a placement order with a view to adoption being the outcome.

Sandria’s client had acknowledged that she felt that she would be unable to parent this child as a single mother, being unable to give the child the sort of future that she would wish. The Father wished at this stage for the child to be placed in the care of both parents, or in his alone.

However, a relative on the paternal side had come forward with a willingness to be considered for an SGO for the child, and it was agreed that an urgent viability assessment would be required. If positive this will delay the Final Hearing for a full SGO assessment to be carried out. If the viability is negative then the dates for the Final Hearing will remain

With Sandria’s support, the Mother has made a very sensitive and difficult decision and, despite her difficulties, came to the realisation that she would not be able to parent this child as she would wish. She is however hopeful that the assessment of the paternal relative is successful because it would be her ideal that the child remains in the family under an SGO, and Sandria’s sensitive and pragmatic advice has helped to ensure that she has a good understanding of what this would mean.