Supporting individuals in crisis

Safeguarding siblings in unusual circumstances
We often work with guardians to safeguard children. But, in this case, no one knew where the children were.

It’s not unusual for us to be instructed in an emergency. The Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS) team represent children via their guardian appointed by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). However, this case dealt with different challenges.

 

While waiting for the court hearing to determine safety measures for the child, there was concern that the mother might flee the country with her child. An urgent hearing was requested, but the court refused. The day before the hearing, the mother boarded a flight with the child removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court instantly making it a case for the High Court.

 

Challenging circumstances

From here, we spent months working with the guardian to locate the child. With port alerts in place, we eagerly waited. Eventually, the local authority received an alert from the USA and evidence of the birth of a second child. While the mother was in hospital, a nurse had alerted the authorities and the case in the UK was flagged.

 

Following lengthy proceedings in the USA and complications around citizenship, both children were returned to the UK and placed in foster care. The judge concluded an injury sustained by the oldest child was inflicted by the parents. There had also been domestic violence between the couple and the children were at risk of harm.

 

No evidence. No court proceedings.

However, the mother stopped attending court and contact sessions with her two children. There were concerns expressed that she was pregnant with a third child, but both parents denied this. There was no evidence of the birth of a child so there was no basis to issue further court proceedings.


The police were unable to assist further, but the ACS team, the guardian and other professionals involved didn’t give up. The team were relieved when the parents were stopped near Gatwick airport with the baby, who was immediately taken into police protection.


Advocating for children

Madhur Sharma, ACS senior associate, says;

"Someone needs to advocate for children at court. In this case, they were very young children, we were their only independent voice about what is the right plan for them. Whether it’s going back to the care of their parents or adoption."
Madhur Sharma, senior associate at ACS

The parents launched an appeal against the judge’s decision that the children should be adopted. Although this appeal has been allowed and the court is yet to determine the final plan for the children, the children are together, safe from harm and professionals know where they are.


Contact

Madhur Sharma
madhur.sharma@anthonycollins.com
0121 214 3461
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