Supporting a Father to retain children in his care

Sandria acted for a Father in a case where the Local Authority sought an interim care order and immediate removal of his children from his care. The Father had retained the children after contact on the advice of the Social Services department, as the Mother was involved with drugs and was associating with undesirable characters with drug use histories and violent propensities.

On behalf of her client, Sandria argued that, despite cramped accommodation, there was evidence of improvements in the children’s presentation, eating and school attendance, and that there was therefore no immediate or significant risk to warrant removal from the Father. The Guardian supported the argument that there was no evidence of immediate and significant risk.

Sandria presented written agreements and undertakings by the Father to the Court, and the Guardian proposed immediate visits to the Father, his accommodation and the children before next hearing, which is a Court Management Hearing.

Sandria also gave her client clear advice regarding how to approach these undertakings, and the urgent need to seek more suitable accommodation via the Council. She also advised the Father to disassociate with previous unsuitable friends. The Father accepted that the Local Authority’s concerns regarding lifestyle and neglect of the children while the parents were together were valid, but was able to demonstrate insight and his attempt to improve parenting with assistance of the paternal grandmother.

Sandria put persuasive arguments to the Court, noting in particular that the Social Worker had not visited the Father at his accommodation for several months, which did not support the contention of immediate risk of significant harm, and therefore did not warrant immediate removal. Her client was happy to accept an Interim Supervision Order, and to seek assistance in finding appropriate accommodation.