Judge approves social workers’ plans to separate five siblings following initial refusal

Five children whose parents have a history of drug abuse and can no longer look after them should go into care and be split up, a family court judge has ruled.

Judge Clifford Bellamy last year refused to approve social workers’ plans to separate the youngsters – who are aged 11, four, three, two and one – and said he wanted a child psychologist to carry out assessments.

The judge said he wanted the “likely impact” of separation to be gauged.

He has now approved plans which will see the five children go three different ways, after analysing a psychologist’s report.

The oldest child would go into long-term foster care, the two middle children would be placed for adoption together and the two youngest children would be placed for adoption together, said the judge.

Detail of the case has emerged rulings published by Judge Bellamy following private family court hearings in Derby.

Derbyshire County Council (pictured) had asked for decisions to be made about the long-term futures of the children, four boys and a girl.

The judge said none of the children could be identified.

Judge Bellamy said the children’s parents had been dismayed at the prospect of the youngsters being sent to five separate new homes.

He said everyone involved agreed that the oldest child was “likely to experience a sense of loss” when the younger four were placed in new adoptive homes.

The judge said the case was complicated and that it was hard to find adoptive homes for large groups of siblings.

“Cases involving large sibling groups present significant challenges to local authorities in terms of care planning,” he said.

“They also present a significant challenge to the court.”

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