Why we need to support parents robustly when they leave residential assessment with or without their children
We revisited four families who left the Centre with their children last year, to find out if they had been able to keep their children.
Sadly, only one family was able to keep their child.
Family 1 – We recommended, and the Court agreed, that mother and child return to the maternal grandmother’s home. Later, the mother chose to leave after meeting a new boyfriend. She is now expecting another child.
Family 2 – The mother, who’d had several previous children removed because of her drug and alcohol misuse, successfully completed a residential and community assessment. However, seven months after she left the house, she started using drugs again. Her child was therefore removed. She is now pregnant again.
Family 3 – Although the mother did very well during the assessment, we were concerned that she might return to the father of her child once he was released from prison. Unfortunately she did and following a hospital admission owing to a beating from him, the child was removed, and has been placed for adoption.
We recommended that the child be removed in 14 families. Of these:
- Three went on to have another child, removed from their mothers at birth.
- One had another child voluntarily placed for adoption
- Two had another child where a Judge agreed to another residential placement. Removal was recommended in both cases.
The experience of these parents shows that if we want to break the cycle of repeated pregnancies and children being taken into care, we need to support parents robustly both when they leave with their children and when they do not.
An edited extract from an internal report from one of our residential centres