The baby snatchers: Now teenage mother faces battle with social services to keep newborn child

The baby snatchers: Now teenage mother faces battle with social services to keep newborn child

By David Wilkes and Fiona Barton



David Wilkes
and Fiona Barton are journalists at the Daily Mail.
This article was previously published in the
News section of the Daily Mail on January 31, 2008.

It is published here with the special consent of the
Assistant Editor.


A mother faces having her newborn baby taken into care again today for the second time in 72 hours.

A High Court judge had ruled that social services acted unlawfully in separating the 18-year-old from her son just two hours after he was born. But council lawyers have now made an application for a care order.


The case started in secret before a district judge yesterday and was adjourned until today without a decision being made.

The mother - known only as "G" - gave birth on Wednesday, shortly after leaving local authority care. She is understood to have remained in hospital yesterday during the two-hour legal hearing and it is unclear whether she will be required at Nottingham County Court when the case continues today.

John Hemming, a LibDem MP who campaigns for greater transparency in family courts, said: "The fact that the case has been transferred to a county court and adjourned shows that it is not the pushover case that the local authority thought it was."

Mr Hemming said he had been involved in more than 20 cases where social services acted "illegally" and urged the young woman in today's case to "Hang on in there. People are rooting for you".

The baby was reunited with his mother 46 minutes after Mr Justice Munby made his order at the High Court in London on Wednesday. Giving his ruling, he said the officials involved in taking the baby away "should have known better" and acted "on the face of it without lawful authority".

The mother, who had a troubled childhood, is said to suffer mental health problems. She was taken into care after reportedly running away from home and starting on drugs.

Her baby was taken after hospital staff were shown a birth plan prepared by social workers.


It said the mother was to be separated from the child, and no contact would be allowed without supervision by social workers.

Last night, Nottingham City Council issued a statement saying: "We're happy that there is appropriate protection overnight for the baby who is our primary concern in this case.

"Nottingham City Council will continue to prioritise this baby's welfare."

In his ruling, Mr Justice Munby had said social services must put in place a package of care to meet the mother's immediate needs. He also said the council must prepare a comprehensive "pathway" plan setting out proposals to help her in the future.



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