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“Adoptable” toddler removed from parents, after social services allege they smoked cigarettes around him (8 June 2015)

Date: 08/06/2015
Duncan Lewis, Child Care Solicitors, “Adoptable” toddler removed from parents, after social services allege they smoked cigarettes around him

A couple whose two-year-old son was taken away by social services and will be put up for adoption because they were smokers has spoken out about an alleged “pack of lies” child protection workers told to remove their blond, blue-eyed “adoptable” baby son.

A judge has ruled that the child can be put up for adoption because of the levels of cigarette smoke social workers claim is in the couple’s home.

The Daily Mail reports that a health visitor told the Family Court in Hull she had seen a “cloud of smoke” over the child and that she had “difficulty breathing” on her visit.

The court heard that the child had been prescribed an inhaler to help him breathe, but his parents were “oblivious” to the problem of cigarette smoke in their home.

The child’s parents will now have to say one last goodbye to their son – only identified as AB – later in June, before he is adopted.

They are appealing against the adoption ruling – and told the Daily Mail that they had never smoked in front of their son.

They allege that he has been taken away from them because he is “so adoptable”.

The child’s mother – who is aged 22 – said that smoke in their house was not caused by cigarettes – but because pest control workers were smoking out pigeons in the chimney of an adjoining house when a social worker visited.

“We were using e-cigarettes when social workers said our house was smoky and took him away,” she added.

“We normally did not smoke in the house, but outside – only occasionally, if one of us was alone at home, we would smoke in the kitchen with the window wide open if our son was there.

“We smoke 15 cigarettes a day – but when the social workers complained, we went on to e-cigarettes. They did not take any notice,” she said.

The child’s father said that they had fitted smoke detectors in their home, but the alarm never sounded “because there was no smoke”.

Sitting in the Family Court at Hull, Judge Louise Pemberton heard that other factors also put the child at risk – including that the father could have a drug habit, which the couple deny.

A nurse also said that the couple’s house was “squalid” – and a nursing colleague also reported seeing used nappies on the floor of the house.

Judge Pemberton issued the adoption order, despite photos showing that AB was happy in his parents’ company and they “showed real delight in their son”. Photographs taken by the couple and given to the judge showed a “clean home and a clearly contented child”. However, she added that she found much of the mother’s evidence “hard to accept”.

Judge Pemberton told the court:

“I want AB to know that in my judgment, his parents loved him very much and tried very hard but were … simply not able to meet his needs.”

The child’s mother was in care herself from the age of 12 and said:

“Every time we are allowed to see him, he screams for his mummy and daddy when we kiss him goodbye. He knows us and it is heartbreaking.

“The authorities appeared to set out to take our son from the minute he was born. We have done nothing to deserve this punishment.

“The house we live in now is really nice – at a previous house, they said the carpets were dirty. We did not have any carpets, it was a laminate floor. We showed the photos of it to the judge in court.

“At the other places where we did have a carpet – I was paranoid about cleanliness and steam-cleaned them twice a day.

‘”They never said go to smoking cessation classes or to the NHS for nicotine replacement products.

“Nothing was offered to help us stop what they said was the main cause of taking our son from us …

“We feel he has been cherry picked for adoption because he is blond, blue-eyed, young – and just what adopters want.”

Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers – Judicial Review

Duncan Lewis is a leading firm of children lawyers able to advise parents on seeking Judicial Review of decisions made by social services or the Family Division of the court.

A claim for Judicial Review of a judgment usually has to be made within three months of a ruling – but it is advisable to take legal advice as soon as possible to prepare the details of claim.

Duncan Lewis is a leading firm of Legal Aid solicitors and can also advise on Court of Protection cases, adoption, care proceedings and child care arrangement orders.

For expert legal advice on child care matters, call Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers on 020 7923 4020.

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