Child Law Case Study 1

Ms Y has three girls aged 10, 7 and 3 years old. The youngest child is non-verbal and has significant learning needs. The children’s father has little contact and Ms Y fled the relationship due to domestic abuse when the youngest child was under 1 year old.

Ms Y had been struggling to parent all three children on her own, particularly because of her own mental health needs. Ms Y had a difficult childhood and her mental health spiralled after the death of her father around 8 years ago. Ms Y used drugs and alcohol to try and cope with her anxiety, the stress of managing her daily life and looking after her three girls.

Last year the youngest child was taken to hospital due to a serious injury. Doctors had concerns about how the injury occurred and possible neglect. A child protection medical was carried out upon all three girls. Along with the serious injury, the doctors found a large amount of bruising, head lice and unexplained cuts / injuries on all three children and it was apparent they had not had a wash for some time.

The LA initiated care proceedings and Ms Y agreed for the older two children to be placed with their maternal grandmother and the youngest into a specialist foster care placement, suitable for her needs. Ms Y accepted she had been struggling and at times had neglected her children.

With help from Bretherton Law Ms Y could see that she needed to focus on her own needs, and make changes in her life, in order to be in the best possible position to look after her children. She knew she had work to do.

Ms Y was assessed and received the necessary help and support for her mental health needs. She committed to therapy and counselling. She managed to stop using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Ms Y saw the children regularly and this was very positive for all the family.

Ms Y undertook a parenting assessment and received support and guidance about how to look after her children and manage each of their individual needs. This assessment demonstrated she was able to provide the necessary care for each of her children, with additional support and respite for the youngest child.

Due to the children’s father’s conduct and threats made within the court proceedings a Non-Molestation Order was made to protect Ms Y and the children in the future.

Ms Y worked hard and engaged well in the process, because she knew changes needed to be made so she could get herself better to be the best mum she could be for her children. The two older children were rehabilitated back into Ms Y’s care and the youngest returned home shortly after. The family have a much brighter future ahead of them.


  • Care proceedings and child protection
  • Adoption
  • Children in Care
  • Special Guardianship Order
  • Change of Name for Child


  • Legal Aid available in some circumstances
  • An experienced, friendly and accessible team
  • Members of Resolution
  • Law Society Lexcel and Children Panel accreditations