Stemming from our Question It! This week, this is the latest update on the Italian mother who had her daughter forcibly removed from her womb by C-Section and who now faces seeing her daughter being adopted here in the UK.
The story has garnered a lot of attention and it now appears that Sir Munby, the President of the Family Division, has decided to take over the case and deal with it himself.
However, Essex County Council are also taking matters into their own hands having been vilified by the national media and caused eyebrows like our own to rise at the seemingly rash and thoughtless actions which they appear to have undertaken in the best interests of the child in question.
Essex County Council have now released a time line of events for the case, some information on the context of their actions and a formal statement. You can read all of this on their website, but we add it below for convenience:
There have been lengthy legal proceedings in this case over the past 15 months.
- Mother detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act on 13 June 2012
- Application by the Health Trust to the High Court 23 August 2012
- Application for Interim Care Order 24 August 2012
- Mother took part in the care proceedings ending on 1 February 2013.
- Mother applied to Italian Courts for order to return the child to Italy in May 2013. Those courts ruled that child should remain in England
- In October 2013 Essex County Council obtains permission from County Court to place child for adoption
The Health Trust had been looking after the mother since 13 June 2012 under section 3 of the Mental Health Act. Because of their concerns the Health Trust contacted Essex County Council’s Social Services.
Five weeks later it was the Health Trust’s clinical decision to apply to the High Court for permissions to deliver her unborn baby by caesarean section because of concerns about risks to mother and child.
The mother was able to see her baby on the day of birth and the following day. Essex County Council’s Social Services obtained an Interim Care Order from the County Court because the mother was too unwell to care for her child.
Historically, the mother has two other children which she is unable to care for due to orders made by the Italian authorities.
In accordance with Essex County Council’s Social Services practice social workers liaised extensively with the extended family before and after the birth of the baby, to establish if anyone could care for the child.
Statement on behalf of Essex County Council
“The long term safety and wellbeing of children is always Essex County Council’s priority. Adoption is never considered until we have exhausted all other options and is never pursued lightly.”
So, Essex County Council say they did liaise with family members and that no one was available to look after the child. It still does not explain why the child was not flown back to Italy to be looked after there, which would most likely have been better for the child.
An interesting take on events. We will be interested too, to see what extended family of the mother may have to say over the next few days and of course, the mother herself.