Maria came to the attention of the Commission for Protection of Children and Youth in Portugal in 2009 because her mother had beaten her severely with a belt. She was entrusted to the care of her maternal grandmother in Portugal, but at the beginning of 2010 her grandmother said she could no longer care for Maria. Maria was placed in a Residential Institution in Portugal as her biological father was in prison for drug trafficking offences.
ISS Portugal contacted CFAB in January 2011 requesting an assessment of Maria’s maternal aunt, Graciete Monteiro Sanches, who was living in Crawley, UK. She had expressed an interest in caring for Maria and bringing her into her own family where she already had two sons.CFAB referred the case to Crawley local authority but they refused to complete an assessment of Graciete because Maria was not in the UK. CFAB carried out the assessment of Graciete and the completed kinship assessment was sent to ISS Portugal.Eventually Crawley local authority agreed to conduct background and CRB checks because CFAB’s assessment was very positive.
In September 2011 the Family and Minors Court of Seixal in Portugal ordered that Graciete become the permanent carer for Maria. Maria has now moved to live with her aunt and two cousins in the UK.