BGC (Parent of B) v Child Protector

CourtJuvenile Court (Singapore)
JudgeEdgar Foo
Judgment Date25 February 2013
Neutral Citation[2013] SGJC 1
Citation[2013] SGJC 1
Docket NumberMA No 040/2013/01
Published date25 June 2013
Hearing Date25 February 2013
Plaintiff CounselMr Zheng Shaokai, State Counsel
Defendant CounselBGC, the mother in person.
District Judge Edgar Foo: Grounds of Decision Introduction

This was an application made by the Child Protection Services (“CPS”), Family and Child Protection and Welfare Branch, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Singapore (“MSF”) pursuant to Section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap 38) (“the Act”) seeking care and protection orders for one B, female, born on XXX (“the child”) against her natural mother, BGC (“the mother”).

I heard the application on 7 February 2013 and made the following orders:- That the child be committed to the care of a Fit Person, namely Mrs K, Senior Director of XXX, for a period of 1 year from the date of my order under Section 49(1)(b) of the Act; That the mother and Mr C (“the father”) to enter into a bond of $1000 each to exercise proper care and guardianship of the child under Section 49(1)(a) of the Act; That the child to participate in programmes and receive services recommended by the Approved Welfare Officer (“AWO”) aimed at enhancing her safety and well-being, under Section 49(2) of the Act; That the child’s direct and indirect access with the father and the mother and any significant persons to be subject to the approval and review by the AWO and the rules and regulations of XXX under Section 49(2) of the Act; That the mother to refrain from visiting the child in the vicinities of XXX and XXX (“the child’s school”) unless otherwise approved by the AWO under Section 49(2) of the Act; That the mother to address all concerns pertaining to the child directly with the AWO in the absence of the child, staff of XXX, and staff of the child’s school, unless otherwise approved by the AWO under Section 49(2) of the Act; That the mother to undergo psychiatric assessment and treatment and/or parenting assessment and programme as deemed necessary by the AWO under Section 51(1) of the Act; That the mother to enter into a bond of $1000 to comply with the aforesaid order under Section 51(2) of the Act; and That the mother to contribute to XXX a monthly sum of $100 towards the care of the child under Section 84(1) of the Act.

The mother being dissatisfied has appealed against my decision.

Background

The child was first referred to the CPS on 20 November 2008 by the Family Court due to concerns over her welfare and care arrangements, arising from the lack of suitable accommodation for her and the suspected mental illness of her sole caregiver, her mother. The father and the mother were divorced in 2004 and they were awarded joint custody of the child with care and control to the mother and reasonable access to the father. However, the father reported that he did not have any contact with the child since 2006 as the mother had threatened that she would seek a breach of Personal Protection Order for her and the child should he keep in contact with them. The father is no longer involved in the parenting of the child.

In May 2009, the mother was ordered to serve a 3 month imprisonment arising from a committal order in her divorce matter and the child was placed in XXX on 28 May 2009 with the father’s consent. i

Following the mother’s release from prison in July 2009, she resided at chalets until she was sent to the Institute of Mental Health (“IMH”) for assessment and treatment of her mental illness in November 2009. She was warded at IMH from November 2009 to January 2010. When the mother was warded at IMH, she presented complaints of people troubling her at night, people passing through the wall to open her door and demons contacting her through walls. She also presented with delusional beliefs such as a group of people stopping her from living a normal life with her husband and stopping her from going to work. However, the reality being that her husband had already divorced her. The mother was brought to hospital by ambulance staff at her sibling’s request but she believed that she was brought to hospital by MCYS (now known as MSF) and someone with court order. She also firmly claimed that all their identities were false.ii Dr J, Consultant Psychiatrist from the XXX, IMH diagnosed the mother to be suffering from psychotic illness – likely delusional disorder and during her stay at IMH, she was initially treated with antipsychotic depot injection due to complete lack of insight in her condition and her refusal to take oral medication.iii Following her discharge from IMH, the mother resided at XXX until she obtained a rental flat in August 2010. The child was placed on extended home leave with the mother on 12 May 2011 and she was subsequently discharged to the mother’s care as CPS was satisfied that the mother had shown progress over her mental health and had shown that she was capable of providing adequate care for the childiv.

However, CPS continued to have concerns over the mother’s mental illness and continued to monitor the child’s case. When CPS discharged the child to the mother’s care, they entered into a voluntary care agreement with the mother on 27 July 2011 under Section 48A of the Act whereby the mother had agreed to comply with IMH appointments as well as to receive parenting support from XXX. When the agreement was reviewed in November 2011, the mother contested the need to attend appointments with IMH but was open to receiving parenting support from XXX. In February 2012 when the voluntary care agreement was further reviewed, the mother shared with CPS that she was no longer agreeable to receiving further parenting support from XXX. CPS also noted that the mother had triangulated the child with her grievances against the father and the maternal relatives and she had become fixated on her medical records and mental health history and she had been contacting IMH to request that they expunge her records as she maintained that she was well and should not be known to IMH in the first place. CPS and various psychiatrists from IMH tried to engage the mother for re-assessment but the mother declined any form of consultation or assessment. The mother also started repeating allegations about people impersonating MCYS (now known as MSF) officers resulting in the removal of the child to XXX and her admission to IMH.v

The mother also had a conflictual relationship with her siblings which resulted in isolation from her kinship network. On 14 April 2010, the maternal uncle Mr D and maternal aunt Mdm E were appointed by the High Court in Originating Summons No. XXX as Deputies under the Mental Capacity Act to make decisions on the mother’s behalf for matters concerning her properties and affairs as she had refused to collect monies due to her from the sale of the matrimonial flat in November 2009. The mother became upset with the maternal relatives and opined that they were stealing her monies and the maternal relatives were also unable to engage the mother.vi

In view of the above, CPS decided to filed this application and DJ Lim Keng Yeow called for a Social Report and passed the following interim orders on 22 June 2012:- That the child be committed to the care of a Fit Person, namely Mrs K, Senior Director of XXX, for a period of 3 months under Section 49(1)(b) of the Act; That the mother to enter into a bond of $1000 each to exercise proper care and guardianship of the child under Section 49(1)(a) of the Act; That the child to participate in programmes that are aimed at her safety and well-being, under Section 49(2) of the Act; That the child’s access with the mother and any significant persons to be subject to the approval and review by the AWO under Section 49(2) of the Act; That the mother to undergo psychiatric assessment and treatment and/or parenting assessment and programme as deemed necessary by the AWO under Section 51(1) of the Act; and That the mother to enter into a bond of $1000 to comply with the aforesaid order under Section 51(2) of the Act.

Despite the orders of DJ Lim Keng Yeow, the mother, to date, has refused to sign the bonds for proper care and guardianship of the child and for the mandatory counselling and she has also refused to comply with the order to undergo psychiatric assessment and treatment.

I would also wish to place on record that the current matter was adjourned a number of times for the mother to appoint counsel and to prepare her affidavits in response to CPS’s Social Report but the mother had decided not to engage counsel and she has also refused to file any affidavit in support of her case and/or to defend the positions taken by her.

The Child Protector’s case

CPS’s case against the mother is based on 2 grounds. Firstly, CPS is saying that the child is need of care and protection under Section 4(c)(i) of the Act because the mother is unable or has neglected to provide adequate care for the child. Secondly, CPS is saying that the child is need of care and protection under Section 4(g) of the Act because there exist serious and persistent conflicts between the mother and the child whereby their family relationship is seriously disrupted thereby causing the child emotional injury.

CPS is relying of the followingvii in support of their case against the mother :- The Complaint filed by the Child Protection Officer, Ms M dated 22 June 2012 (which incorporates the Psychologist Report on the child dated 29 May 2012 prepared by Ms S, Clinical Psychologist from the XXX); The Social Report dated 7 September 2012; XXX Progress Report dated 23 August 2012 (annexed to the Social Report); Report from XXX dated 23 August 2012 (annexed to the Social Report); IMH report by Dr J dated 18 August 2010; The affidavit of the Child Protection Officer, Ms M affirmed on 10 December 2012; XXX’s Further Progress Report dated 3 December 2012; Email Update from the Vice-Principal of XXX dated 29 November 2012; and Further Update from Dr J dated 30 November 2012.

The Child Protector’s case under Section 4(c)(i) of the Act

CPS has argued that the mother is unable or...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT