A 17-year-old who wants to look after her two younger sisters and avoid placing them up for adoption has lost a family court fight.
The teenager said she was “completely committed” to the girls, who are four and nearly two, and could meet their care needs.
Family members gave their backing and said they would provide support.
Whilst Judge Martin Dancey said there was “lots of love and affection” for the girls, he said love and affection was “not all it takes”.
He decided, in a written ruling following the court hearing in Bournemouth, to place the girls up for adoption.
The judge has not identified the family involved.
He said the teenager and the girls had been neglected by their mother, who had ruled herself out as a carer.
The girls had been taken from home and temporarily placed with foster parents.
Judge Dancey said the teenager and the girls had been affected by the care they had received at home. He said the teenager did not have “the insight” into her own or her sisters’ emotional needs.
The judge said she might struggle to cope with the girls’ “challenging” behaviour.
“I have listened carefully to [the teenager] and the family,” said Judge Dancey.
“I was impressed by what they had to say. They are obviously committed to the girls. There is lots of love and affection shown towards them.
“If that was all it took the answer would be easy. But it is not all it takes.
“I have weighed up what the professionals say and what the family says. I agree with the thinking of the professionals and their reasons.
“While I believe [the teenager] could meet the girls’ basic care needs, I do not think she could cope with their emotional needs, even with support from the family.”
Social workers will now try to find adopters who would allow the three sisters to stay in touch with family members.