M, DOHS and BS 2004 VChC 1

Two professionals reported their assessments about attachments of a four year old child who had been removed from the care of his parents and had been in the care of foster parents for a period of 32 months.  The two professionals made conflicting findings from their attachment assessment (experts simultaneous).

The judge preferred the assessment conducted by a clinical psychologist as that assessment was conducted in an organised and orderly way, and the participants knew what to expect during the assessment (assessing psychologist).

The preferred assessor noted that a child needs more than the basics of a safe environment, stimulation and physical needs being met.  A competent parent needs to assist the child through the experiences of attachment trauma.  The mother was found to have minimised the emotional and psychological sequelae of the child having been removed and the mother focused only on reuniting the child with his younger sister and herself (parenting style self centred).  The assessor reported that the foster carers were able to think about the child’s experiences through his own young eyes by being attuned to child’s communication and to his unique ways.  The child had made good developmental progress while in the care of the foster parents.


Changed Circumstances

A mother submitted that a previous order removing a child from her care should be reviewed due to significantly changed circumstances.

The changed circumstances were:

  • the mother was aged 19 when the child was born and she had matured in the following 32 months
  • the couple relationship had settled
  • the couple had another child and were successfully parenting this child
  • the mother had completed a parenting programme
  • the mother had moved accommodation from a caravan park to rental accommodation with her partner
  • the mother and partner had purchased a car
  • the partner was employed and had committed no further criminal offences.

The judge accepted that there were significantly changed circumstances.