RBC v R & G  EWFC B96 (20 July 2015)
This Judgment related to an application for a Care Order in respect of the child JG, aged 6 months.
JG had been in Local Authority care since 23/01/15 and under provision of an Interim Care Order since 20/03/15.
JR was the mother of JG and PJG was the father. PJG was from the Republic of Ireland and was a long distance lorry driver.
Care proceedings had taken place in 2012 in relation to JR’s two elder children, JG’s half siblings. A Supervision Order was made in favour of RBC for a period of 12 months, supervised contact between the children and JR and an Order that the children live with their father. Various assessments had taken place during those proceedings, which concluded that JR had psychological difficulties including depression and severe anxiety. When JR was expecting baby JG with PJG she stopped taking her medication.
A pre-birth assessment was carried out on JR and PJG. Following discharge from the hospital the parents were looking after JG, until he was removed from their care following increasing concerns in terms of them meeting his basic needs, JR’s mental health and indication that they were planning on leaving the area, or more so the United Kingdom, with JG. Care Proceedings commenced shortly after this on 28/01/15.
During the proceedings JR and PJG separated. Further assessments took place which concluded that JR was not able to care for JG separately or with PJG. Assessments identified PJG as a possible sole carer for JG in that he had the capacity and could develop the required parenting needs with support and benefits were identified for PJG and JG returning to Ireland. PJG would have the support of his family and there was evidence of strong family ties. There were also positive signs that PJG would encourage supervised contact between JG and his maternal family.
The two options in the case which Her Honour Judge Owens analysed were whether any further assessments of JR as a sole carer should take place or whether JG should move to Ireland with his father to be cared for. It was believed by Her Honour Judge Owens that JG needed permanency and that there was no real prospect of JR being in a place where she could care for JG to the standard required, in a suitable timescale. It was also believed that JR did not have any understanding of the risks her mental health posed to a child in her care. Her Honour Judge Owens took the opinion following weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of the options, that a Child Arrangements Order in favour of the father, PJG, was in JG’s best interests. This then led to an Order allowing PJG to remove JG from the jurisdiction to the Republic of Ireland indefinitely.