A severely disabled child whose parents fought a lengthy legal battle for her right to live is to be fostered because the couple have separated.

Charlotte Wyatt survived against the odds and will be three years old next Saturday.

Her parents, Darren, aged 34, and Debbie Wyatt, aged 25, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, split up in January.

Mr Wyatt said: "Charlotte has been well enough to leave hospital for a while now. I would take her if I had all the right support.

"The doctors say it would be too much for me and Social Services can't offer me the care package I need.

"I would need carers coming in during the day while I work and then to help me put her to bed.

"Social Services are now looking for a foster home but finding someone will be very hard and until they find someone she will have to stay in hospital."

Charlotte was born three months prematurely, weighing just 1lb and only as long as a ballpoint pen. She has serious brain, lung and kidney damage.

While she has been fighting for life, her parents have waged a parallel battle on her behalf in the courts.

The legal fight has centred around whether she should be given artificial ventilation if her condition worsened.

Mr Wyatt, who has three other children - Christina, 11 months, David, two, and Daniel, four - with Mrs Wyatt, now lives alone in a two-bedroom council flat in Portsmouth.

The legal dispute to force doctors to resuscitate Charlotte cost the taxpayer an estimated £500,000 and put a strain on the couple's marriage.

Mr Wyatt said: "I think if me and Debbie had all the right support when we were together we probably wouldn't have split up.

"We had to keep fighting and fighting to prove she can see and hear. They (doctors) were making Charlotte out to never get better and that she would never leave hospital.

"I always said she was getting better. It's such a high-profile case and we did prove them wrong in the end, but now it's the case where it's Social Services... it will be in their hands. It's going to cost them a lot of money."

Charlotte, who is being cared for at St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth, has recovered from a life-threatening viral lung infection she caught in February.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust will continue to act as her carer until a suitable alternative can be found.

Her treatment costs around £300 a day, and has totalled an estimated £1.1 million so far.

Doctors are now measuring her life expectancy in months and years, rather than weeks and months, but she is still ill.

She is attached to an oxygen tank and needs three litres of oxygen every minute. She is fed and medicated through a nasal tube.

Mr Wyatt, who also has three children from a previous marriage, said: "I visit Charlotte almost every day. She is doing really, really well, totally the opposite to the way she was last year."

He added: "I want her to be fostered near me so I can visit her every day."

Charlotte celebrates her third birthday with a small party on her ward at St Mary's on Saturday.

A spokeswoman for Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust said: "If her foster carers are outside the area she may be moved somewhere else," said the spokeswoman.

"The clinicians at Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust continue to provide exemplary care for Charlotte Wyatt in difficult circumstances. Her complex needs mean she cannot have a simple discharge. There is no question of her care being wound down and there never has been."