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Essex County Council responds to C-section care case

Judgment published in care proceedings

Essex County Council has responded to the media reports concerning the delivery, without the mother's consent, of a baby by caesarean section and the child's removal into care of the local authority.

The judgment in the care proceedings has now been published. It can be read here.

Essex County Council said that here have been lengthy legal proceedings in this case over the past 15 months. 

On 13 June 2012 the mother was detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act. On 23 August 2012 the Health Trust, which had been looking after the mother, applied to the High Court for permission to deliver her unborn baby by caesarean section because of its concerns about risks to mother and child.

The mother was able to see her baby on the day of birth and the following day. On 24 August 2012 Essex County Council's Social Services applied for and obtained an interim care order from the county court because the mother was too unwell to care for her child.

Care proceedings ended on 1 February 2013. The mother applied to the Italian courts for an 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 obtained an order from the county court to place the child for adoption.
It is understood that the mother has two other children which she is unable to care for due to orders made by the Italian authorities.

Essex County Council has said that its Social Services practice social workers liaised extensively with the extended family before and after the birth of the baby, to establish whether anyone  could care for the child.

A spokesman for the Council said:

"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."

The judgment is here.