Saturday, February 2, 2008

Teenage mother loses fight to keep baby

A teenage mother fled court in tears yesterday after being told that her baby son, who was taken illegally by social workers a few hours after he was born, would be put back into care for a second time.

Vicki Woods: When social workers become baby snatchers

Council's second bid to part mother from baby

The 18-year-old was separated from the boy, known only as G, two hours after she gave birth.

He was returned to her after a judge at the High Court ruled that his removal had been "unlawful".

However, in another twist in the case, a second judge issued an interim order yesterday to put the baby back in foster care.

District Judge Richard Inglis said that there could be "frequent" contact between mother and son, but ruled that a decision about G's future would have to wait until later in the year.

The teenage girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had given evidence at a private hearing at Nottingham county court.

When the ruling against her was made in public, she broke down and ran out of the room. Nottingham city council fought to remove the boy from his mother's care because it claimed that her troubled childhood and mental health problems threatened his welfare. She had been taken into care herself after running away from home and has in the past taken drugs.

Social workers from the council decided before the birth that the child would be taken from his mother and no contact would be allowed without supervision.

On Wednesday morning, the boy was born in a hospital in Nottingham. Two hours later, he was removed.

The solicitors' firm Bhatia Best took her case to the High Court, where Mr Justice Munby ruled that "on the face of it" G had been taken unlawfully and should be returned to his mother immediately.

However, the council returned to court to apply for an interim order to force the boy back into care.

Mr Inglis said: "The removal by court order of a child from the care of his mother soon after birth is a very grave step to take and is to be taken only when the welfare of the child makes it necessary. In this case, the court has decided the welfare of G requires that he lives in local authority foster care on an interim basis while further inquires are made and assessment carried out."

The mother's solicitor, Stuart Luke, said that they would still be suing social services for damages after the "removal of her child without lawful authority".

Bhatia Best said in a statement that it was considering a new application to the High Court because the mother's human rights had been breached.

A Nottingham city council spokesman welcomed yesterday's ruling.

"This interim care order enables the council to provide appropriate protection for the baby while continuing to support the mother, who is also our concern in this case," he said.

"The council and a range of other partner agencies had enough concern for the baby's welfare during the pregnancy to believe action would be needed to protect the baby when it was born."

Original Article -

Teenage mother loses fight to keep baby - Telegraph

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