Heysham foster carer wins bitter adoption battle

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A Heysham foster carer is celebrating her adoption of a foster child after a long battle with Lancashire County Council.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, challenged a decision by the county council to remove the child from her care.

She had been with her for almost two years when she filed an application for adoption.

The county council wanted her to be placed for adoption with a newborn half sister in a different placement.

The woman’s daughter – named Flora for the purposes of this article although that is not her real name – is three-and-a-half years old. She was placed with her in 2012 when she was six months old.

The woman said: “When Flora came to live with me, it was obvious that due to her upbringing she had a lot of issues that impacted on her behaviour.

“She was a whirlwind! She would run everywhere – even onto the stage at my son’s nativity!

“If she did not get attention she would scream, cry, bite herself and pull her hair out.

“She was very aggressive and she tried to harm a foster baby placed with me.

“She looks very cute and attractive. Only those who know her well realise how damaged she is.

“Over the time she was placed with me I understood her moods and her hyper behaviour.

“With skilled support she learned to trust me. She built a relationship with me and my children. Gradually her behaviour has changed.

“When the county council decided it was in Flora’s best interests to be put in a family she didn’t know with a half sister she hadn’t met, I told them that this wasn’t going to work. Flora has an attachment disorder. She struggles with relationships.”

After a court battle, the judge indicated she was going to allow the woman to adopt Flora and said the county council had to pay for the legal costs.

The woman’s lawyer, Nigel Priestley, said: “My client was determined but she could so easily have lost her daughter.

“Flora’s long term future care was at stake.”

Barbara Bath, Lancashire County Council’s head of the adoption and fostering service, said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases as we have a duty of confidentiality.

“When we are making decisions about placements, the best interests of the child concerned are always our highest priority.”