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Parents can appeal to get children back

PUBLISHED: 10:13 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:39 03 July 2010

A COUPLE whose children have been taken from them by social services took a step forward this week in their fight to win them back as the High Court gave them permission to appeal.

A COUPLE whose children have been taken from them by social services took a step forward this week in their fight to win them back as the High Court gave them permission to appeal.

Last June, Great Yarmouth magistrates refused the Yarmouth couple permission to appeal but the High Court decided that was wrong and they will now go to Norwich County Court for a hearing in June.

The parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had their three children taken into care in 2004, though their elder daughter returned to live with them last year when she turned 16. Their son, 13, has also been back at home since last summer with the consent of social services, but legally is still in the care of Norfolk County Council.

The parents want their 12-year-old younger daughter home, and for their son to be legally returned to them.

Papers given to the court by the county council say the couple have neglected their children and are not able to give their disabled daughter the support she needs. It says since their son returned home “the local authority has not tried to remove him from the care of [his parents] and there is no intention to do so at the current time”.

The children were taken away on the day police raided their home after allegations the couple had child pornography - for which no evidence was ever found.

Their appeal is on the basis that their children were taken away from them because of these unfounded allegations and that they have successfully looked after their eldest daughter since she came back home.

Borough councillor Mick Castle, who has been involved in the case for several years, said: “They desperately want their daughter back. Whatever lack of money is in the family home, there is love there. You can see on the kids' faces they worship their parents.”

Lisa Christensen, the county council's director of children's services, said: “Our priority in this case has always been the welfare of the children involved. We do not intervene in family life unless there are significant concerns for the safety and welfare of children. Wherever possible we try to support families in taking care of their child-ren by providing additional support and services for their parents.

“As this case is currently subject to legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

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