UK: Baby Born To Cannabis Smoking Teenagers Must Be Given Up For Adoption, Court Rules

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Photo Credit: Steven Haslington

A baby boy, whose father was just 14 when he was born, will be placed for adoption by Stockport Council following a senior judge’s ruling.

The boy’s mother was herself only 17 when she gave birth to him and both parents were already habitual cannabis users, a family court heard.

They ‘dearly love’ their little boy and, despite their youth, were determined that they should bring him up, said Judge Iain Hamilton.

But, opening the way for the adoption of the lad, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, the judge said his parents were simply incapable of giving him all the care he needs.

The court heard hair strand testing showed that both of them had used cannabis on an almost daily basis.

The father had been taking the drug since he was 12 and the mother since she was 14.

“It is profoundly worrying that they appeared to view cannabis use as the norm and did not appear to consider it had any impact upon them at all,” the judge said.

The mother and her new partner, also a teenager, faced ‘entrenched difficulties’ and seemed to have given little thought as to where they might live with the boy.

“I come to the conclusion that the mother and her partner sadly lack the capacity to be able to care safely for him, either now or in the foreseeable future.

“I come to the same conclusion in respect of the father”, the judge said.

“I accept that adoption is a draconian outcome for any child, ending his legal and practical relationship with his mother, father and any other family members.”

The mother, father and paternal grandmother ‘all dearly love him and would wish to care for him if they could. It is an extremely sad situation for them all.’

The judge added: “No one doubts the love and affection which they have for him. They would all wish to provide and care for him.”

But he ruled: “Unfortunately, none of them truly recognize their own limitations and vulnerability or the risks to which they would expose him.

“The evidence of the professionals is overwhelmingly against his placement within his family,” and adoption was really ‘the only option.’

The baby boy was formally taken into care and Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council was given permission to place him for adoption.

Contact between the lad and his mother will steadily be reduced in the coming weeks until a ‘final goodbye contact’ is arranged.

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