Stonelake & Verboom and Anor 2014 FamCA 434

The mother was estimated to have a mild-moderate intellectual disability, and received a disability pension.  The judge found that the mother did not have the parenting capacity to care for the child without assistance that was provided by the mother’s carer who received a carer’s pension.

The judge reported being most assisted by information provided by the family consultant who had asked the child aged 5 years to create a picture of her family.  The child drew her father in the centre of her page, with her mother on far left near the mother’s new partner.  A baby was placed in the mother’s arms. The maternal grandmother was placed away from the father on the other side of the page, with the child holding the hand of her maternal grandmother. The judge described this as a matter of considerable significance (attachment assessment).

The judge found that the carer spoke on behalf of the mother, whether or not the mother agreed.

The judge found that the mother had impaired parenting capacity particularly in relation to her decision making capacity.  The father was ordered to have sole parental responsibility for the child.