Mother fails in appeal to take care of her son

Court tells woman with mental condition to stay away from home of the foster parents

A Youth Court ordered a volatile woman with a mental condition to keep away from the school and foster parents' home where her child had been placed to ensure his well-being.

The court rejected her appeal to be given care and control of the child or have him placed in a children's home instead.

District Judge Eugene Tay cautioned that an attempt by her to confront the foster parents at their home would likely have negative and harmful effects on the child if she turned up unannounced, whether alone or accompanied, in all likelihood in an emotional state. He added in judgment grounds issued on Thursday that "if the mother had certain concerns relating to the child, the more appropriate course of action would be to engage and meet up with the Child Protective Service (CPS) to discuss the same".

The 11-year-old child had been placed under successive care and protection orders from the courts since 2006 as the mother had a long-term mental health condition, a history of emotional volatility, depression, aggression and suicidal behaviour.

The court noted that orders passed in April last year for the child to be placed with foster parents for three years had been made with his mother's consent, indicating she had acknowledged and accepted that the child was in need of care and protection.

The orders also required her to continue her psychiatric treatment, comply with her medication and treatment plan and attend any parenting or counselling programme recommended by the welfare officer.

Last month, the judge ordered the orders to stand following a CPS review report last November and after a contested hearing where the mother represented herself and CPS made submissions through State Counsel. District Judge Tay found the mother had not shown she could yet care for her child.

She did not dispute the review report that she was not ready to have him back as she was unfit to work and was on financial aid.

The judge also noted she had turned up at the foster parents' home last October to confront them and CPS had to seek police assistance to ask her to leave and patrol the area to ensure she was not loitering. He further ordered her to remove various posts related to the proceedings from social media, and safeguard the interest of the child and the integrity of the court proceedings.

He found the child was also unwilling to resume care with the mother and this was not disputed by his mother.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2017, with the headline 'Mother fails in appeal to take care of her son'. Print Edition | Subscribe