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Council settles claim brought by couple over halting of adoption process

City of Bradford Council has made a payment put in five figures to settle a claim by a couple who were deprived of a child they wished to adopt.

Solicitor Nigel Priestley, of law firm Ridley & Hall, who acted for Sonny and Sarita Simak, said the council had halted the adoption process despite the couple having completed all the stages required by law.

The Simaks hoped to adopt the boy - described by Mr Priestly as having “some challenging behaviour”.

He was removed from their care by Bradford following a therapeutic report commissioned by the council.

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Mr Priestly told Local Government Lawyer: “The couple matches the ethnicity for the boy, and that would become important as he gets older.

“They live in Slough, which re-approved them as adopters, and Bradford got an independent social worker’s report that said they were a good couple to adopt.

“They followed every legal step and had the report from the independent social worker, yet Bradford then threw in a curve ball by wanting a therapeutic worker to make an assessment too.”

After that Bradford decided to cancel the adoption and removed the boy, who has been sent to long-term foster care.

Mr Priestley claimed that the final assessment at which the boy was removed was not part of normal adoption processes and that dealing with the council had felt like “guerrilla warfare”.

A Bradford spokesperson said: "We know that in 2018 not all the correct processes were followed in respect of decisions relating to Mr and Mrs Simak's case.

“We understand that this will have been very difficult for them as a result and we have apologised to them for this."

The spokesperson added: "We cannot comment on the individual circumstances of children in our care for reasons of data protection. However, we always put the best interests and wellbeing of children placed for adoption at the core of all our decisions.

"When we make decisions regarding the long-term placement of a child, we take into account all assessments, including updated or new assessments from a range of partners working with the child. All of this information is considered collectively so that the most appropriate decision can be made that is in the best interests of the child.

“As previously stated, it would not be appropriate for us to discuss individual children for privacy reasons but we will continue to engage with Mr and Mrs Simak to work through their concerns.”

Mark Smulian

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