Letter: Nicholas Crichton obituary

Jeanne Kaniuk writes:

As manager of the Adoption and Permanent Families Service at the children’s charity Coram, I worked with Nicholas Crichton on a model that ensured that babies in care proceedings achieved a permanent family placement, either by return to their own family, or if that was not possible, by adoption.

Nick chaired the legal advisory group supporting a scheme imported from the US in the late 1990s and now known as “fostering for adoption”. Babies and young children who were the subject of care proceedings were placed with foster carers who were also approved as adopters.

During proceedings the babies had frequent contact with their parents to maintain their family relationships. If the court decided that the parents had sufficiently addressed the serious issues that prevented them from caring for their child, their child would be returned to them. But otherwise, the foster carers would apply to adopt the child – a win/win position for the child that was formalised by legislation in 2014.

A positive relationship often developed between the carers and the mother or parents through their regular meetings when the baby attended contact sessions. As a result of the relationship between the mother or parents and the foster carers, in some cases where the child could not return home, the mother commented that although she would still have wished to have the care of her child, if that was not possible, she preferred the child to be adopted by the carers whom she had come to know.

Nick’s support for the scheme at the family court at Wells Street in London was extremely positive.

Jeanne Kaniuk

The GuardianTramp

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