Courts Service Child Care Statistics

Courts Service Statistics 2015

We publish below the Courts Service statistics for child care applications for 2015. This is the fifth successive year in which the Child Care Law Reporting Project has published these figures, allowing comparison between District Courts over the five-year period. However, the most meaningful comparisons are with last year’s figures, as in 2014 the Courts Service modified the manner in which it records child care applications and outcomes (see below). The total number of applications made in 2015 was 14,124, compared with 9,864 last year. Of these 10,622 were new applications, some of which were dealt with in 2015, while other applications had been carried over. New applications are not necessarily dealt with in the year in which they are lodged, so there is usually a difference between the number of applications dealt with and the number of new applications lodged. However, in some courts, particularly those with lesser volumes, the number of new applications and the total number dealt with are the same.

This year’s figures reveal for the fifth year running great variation in both the number of applications lodged and in outcomes between different cities of approximately similar size. Once again we see that midland towns, in particular, see relatively few applications. Carlow dealt with 123, of which 82 were struck out or withdrawn, and only two were granted; Kilkenny processed 13, ten granted and three adjourned; Longford processed 49, granting 40; Portlaoise dealt with 50, of which 26 were granted and 18 adjourned; Tullamore dealt with 36 applications, of which 17 were granted and 14 adjourned.

At the other end of the scale, Tralee dealt with 239 applications (215 new in 2015); Trim dealt with 349 (all new applications); Waterford had 596 (453 new); Wexford had 935 (of which 439 were new applications); Letterkenny had 1,117 (of which 460 were new). Among the larger cities and towns, Cork dealt with 2,472 (969 new), of which 807 were granted and 1,562 adjourned. This is higher than Dublin, which dealt with 2,003 applications, of which 1,795 were granted, but which saw 4,393 new applications lodged. It must be that the Cork figure includes extensions of existing Care Orders and Interim Care Orders, and Reviews of existing Care Orders, which are high in Cork but rare elsewhere. In contrast, Galway only had 151 applications, of which 35 were granted and 111 adjourned. Limerick had 441, of which 160 were granted, both cities significantly less than the cities of Waterford and Wexford with smaller populations.

Some of the discrepancies may be explained by the manner in which applications are filed and dealt with in the different court areas. There is also some double counting, as Interim Care Orders are renewed while Care Order applications are being heard. This can mean that the hearing of a Care Order is frequently adjourned while the ICO is renewed in the same case. Thus a single case, involving a number of children, could generate a large number of recorded applications. The inclusion since 2014 of the categories “Review of Care Order” and “Extension of Care Order”, which reflects the practice in some courts, undoubtedly also pushed up the total number of child care matters recorded.

Comparisons with earlier years is also made more difficult by the fact that in 2014 the Courts Service increased the number of headings under which cases were filed from four (Supervision Order, Emergency Care Order, Interim Care Order, Care Order) to nine. They are, with the abbreviations we are using in brackets: Supervision Order (SO); Interim Care Order (ICO); Extension of Interim Care Order (Ext ICO); Care Order (CO); Extension of Care Order (Ext CO); Review of Care Order (Rev CO); Emergency Care Order (ECO); Re-entry of case (Re-entry) and Other. “Other” probably includes applications made under Section 47 of the Act (relating to the welfare of a child in care, including access) and matters relating to whether another jurisdiction should hear the case.

The outcomes published by the Courts Service in 2014 also rose from two in previous years (applications made and granted) to seven, although one of these, “Bench Warrant issued”, almost never arises in child care and we do not include it. The headings, with the abbreviations we are using in brackets, are: Granted; Refused; Struck out/Withdrawn (SO/Wdr); Interim Order (Int Order); Adjourned (Adj) and Totals.

With all these caveats, we can say that the Courts Service figures for all child care applications, which reflect units of work as recorded by the Courts Service staff, do reflect court activity in this area and provide useful information on the volume and spread of child care applications around the country. The figures also reveal differing practices by different judges in different parts of the country. While some of the wide disparities between different parts of the country may reflect different court practice and different recording practice, they must also reflect different practices on the part of Tusla/the Child and Family Agency in bringing applications. This may reflect a greater use of voluntary care in some parts of the country, or higher levels of family support.

We can also see from these figures that some courts are more likely to grant orders than others. Nationally, 13.4 per cent of decided applications are either refused or withdrawn or struck out. However, in certain courts, a relatively high numbers of cases are refused, struck out or withdrawn. Among those with the highest proportion of refused/struck out/withdrawn outcomes are Castlebar (41, as against 55 granted) and Waterford (287 granted, 162 refused or withdrawn or struck out). In contrast, only six were withdrawn or struck out and none refused in Trim, while 302 were granted; in Naas 85 were granted and seven refused or withdrawn; in Letterkenny 448 were granted and 26 refused or withdrawn, in Sligo 203 were granted and 13 refused or struck out and in Tralee 187 were granted while one was refused and 10 struck out.

 

National figures

Granted Refused SO/Wdr Adj Totals
New apps
SO 573 25 86 461 1,145 721
Rev CO 326 16 43 1,117 1,502 1,370
Re-entry 113 14 21 305 453 304
Other 490 45 106 793 1,434 1,495
ICO 1,195 76 136 459 1,866 1,556
Ext ICO 2,922 39 148 143 3,252 3,148
Ext CO 514 3 12 159 688 481
ECO 270 32 38 31 371 357
CO 719 104 159 2,431 3,413 1,230
Totals 7,122 354 749 5,899 14,124 10,662

By District Court, in alphabetical order

Court Granted Refused SO/Wdr Adj Totals
New apps
Athlone
SO 14 0 11 2 27 24
Rev CO 0 0 0 0 0 1
Re-entry 1 0 0 0 1 1
Other 2 0 0 0 2 2
ICO 2 0 2 3 7 4
Ext ICO 9 0 0 0 9 8
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
ECO 0 0 0 0 0 0
CO 11 0 1 78 90 20
Totals 39 0 14 83 136 60
Ballina
SO 11 0 9 1 21 5
Rev CO 0 0 0 2 2 0
Re-entry 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 2 1 0 4 7 2
ICO 5 1 0 1 7 8
Ext ICO 1 0 0 0 1 1
Ext CO 2 0 0 0 2 6
ECO 8 3 0 0 11 8
CO 8 0 4 4 16 10
Totals 37 5 13 28 83 40
Bandon
SO 32 0 2 11 45 34
Rev CO 3 0 1 8 12 0
Re-entry 0 1 0 7 8 4
Other 7 0 0 8 15 12
ICO 15 1 4 7 27 21
Ext ICO 3 0 0 12 15 5
Ext CO 32 0 1 26 59 39
ECO 8 0 0 9 17 7
CO 17 2 2 18 39 17
Totals 117 4 10 106 237 139
Bray
SO 27 0 0 13 40 27
Rev CO 0 0 0 12 12 8
Re-entry 0 0 0 1 1 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0
ICO 9 0 1 1 11 11
Ext ICO 20 1 2 0 23 23
Ext CO 3 0 0 0 3 3
ECO 4 0 2 0 6 6
CO 3 0 0 23 26 9
Totals 66 1 5 60 132 87
Carlow
SO 3 1 2 1 6 3
Rev CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Re-entry 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 3 1 0 4 1
ICO 1 1 18 11 32 16
Ext ICO 1 0 49 8 58 52
Ext CO 0 0 2 3 5 1
ECO 0 0 2 0 2 1
CO 0 2 8 8 18 5
Totals 5 7 82 35 126 79
Carrick-on-Shannon
SO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rev CO 2 0 3 2 7 7
Re-entry 5 0 0 2 7 7
Other 1 0 0 2 3 3
ICO 15 0 0 1 16 16
Ext ICO 19 0 0 0 19 19
Ext CO 4 0 0 0 4 4
ECO 4 0 0 0 4 4
CO 1 0 0 4 5 5
Totals 51 0 3 11 65 65
Castlebar
SO 3 1 0 5 9 5
Rev CO 0 0 0 0 0 3
Re-entry 0 0 0 4 4 2
Other 3 3 0 37 43 11
ICO 11 0 9 29 49 28
Ext ICO 7 0 0 2 9 10
Ext CO 21 0 1 11 33 21
ECO 4 4 5 1 14 14
CO 6 13 5 70 94 21
Totals 55 21 20 159 255 115
Cavan
SO 0 0 1 0 1 0
Rev CO 0 0 0 7 7 1
Re-entry 0 0 0 18 18 0
Other 1 0 0 22 23 9
ICO 46 3 3 8 60 24
Ext ICO 98 2 2 9 111 56
Ext CO 8 0 0 8 16 2
ECO 2 0 0 0 2 2
CO 9 0 2 187 198 14
Totals 164 5 8 259 436 102
Clonmel
SO 15 0 3 30 48 13
Rev CO 20 0 2 17 39 28
Re-entry 1 4 4 4 13 7
Other 31 0 0 76 107 39
ICO 23 0 0 0 23 23
Ext ICO 107 1 8 0 116 139
Ext CO 45 0 0 3 48 24
ECO 12 2 2 0 16 15
CO 7 1 1 94 103 24
Totals 261 8 20 224 513 312
Cork
SO 107 10 17 176 310 147
Rev CO 112 10 8 737 867 183
Re-entry 47 1 2 146 196 65
Other 70 3 8 190 271 89
ICO 78 7 7 90 182 90
Ext ICO 46 2 5 6 59 56
Ext CO 235 3 6 72 316 218
ECO 40 1 0 0 41 41
CO 72 6 7 145 230 80
Totals 807 43 60 1,562 2,472 969
Donegal
SO 0 0 1 0 1 1
Rev CO 1 0 0 19 20 3
Re-entry 1 0 0 2 3 1
Other 0 0 0 7 7 4
ICO 9 0 0 0 9 8
Ext ICO 11 1 0 4 16 23
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 1
ECO 2 0 0 0 2 0
CO 2 0 0 26 28 10
Totals 26 1 1 58 86 51
Dundalk (incorporating Drogheda)
SO 4 1 0 10 15 1
Rev CO 3 0 1 24 28 10
Re-entry 1 0 0 8 9 1
Other 26 8 7 122 163 54
ICO 241 7 14 4 266 264
Ext ICO 79 0 5 0 84 87
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
ECO 15 2 0 0 17 19
CO 14 7 19 260 300 41
Totals 383 25 46 428 882 477
Dublin
SO 37 2 5 0 44 90
Rev CO 117 0 17 0 134 1,018
Re-entry 15 0 6 0 21 142
Other 194 15 74 0 283 1,029
ICO 156 8 46 0 210 373
Ext ICO 1,301 2 81 0 1,384 1,421
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
ECO 50 6 26 0 82 85
CO 119 1 8 0 128 235
Totals 1,795 19 189 0 2,003 4,393
Ennis
SO 25 2 2 30 59 39
Rev CO 12 3 0 10 25 16
Re-entry 1 0 0 7 8 3
Other 6 0 2 9 17 12
ICO 24 0 2 11 37 24
Ext ICO 24 0 1 0 25 21
Ext CO 20 0 0 0 20 20
ECO 2 0 0 0 2 2
CO 18 1 7 77 103 36
Totals 132 6 14 144 296 173
Galway
SO 3 0 0 1 4 5
Rev CO 2 0 0 2 4 1
Re-entry 0 0 0 2 2 2
Other 3 0 0 2 5 6
ICO 9 0 1 5 24 12
Ext ICO 3 1 0 10 14 7
Ext CO 2 0 0 4 6 1
ECO 3 0 0 4 7 7
CO 10 0 3 72 85 18
Totals 35 1 4 111 151 59
Kilkenny
SO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rev CO 0 0 0 1 1 1
Re-entry 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 1 0 0 1 2 2
ICO 4 0 0 1 5 5
Ext ICO 3 0 0 0 0 3
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
ECO 2 0 0 0 0 2
CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 10 0 0 3 13 13
Letterkenny
SO 15 0 0 24 39 3
Rev CO 6 1 0 41 48 14
Re-entry 0 0 0 11 11 4
Other 10 0 0 68 78 14
ICO 29 0 0 73 102 31
Ext ICO 348 6 3 8 365 342
Ext CO 1 0 0 0 1 0
ECO 14 8 0 4 26 23
CO 25 3 5 414 447 29
Totals 448 18 8 643 1,117 460
Limerick
SO 18 4 0 21 43 23
Rev CO 6 0 0 10 16 11
Re-entry 5 6 3 43 57 20
Other 4 2 0 40 46 15
ICO 36 5 2 18 61 15
Ext ICO 36 0 3 30 69 19
Ext CO 6 0 1 1 8 7
ECO 4 0 0 0 4 4
CO 45 3 4 85 137 42
Totals 160 20 13 248 441 156
Longford
SO 0 0 7 0 7 14
Rev CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Re-entry 1 0 1 0 2 1
Other 3 0 0 0 3 3
ICO 10 0 0 1 11 39
Ext ICO 13 0 0 0 13 11
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 1
ECO 1 0 0 0 1 1
CO 12 0 0 0 12 15
Totals 40 0 8 1 49 83
Loughrea
SO 10 1 0 1 12 12
Rev CO 0 2 1 1 4 4
Re-entry 0 0 1 0 1 1
Other 7 0 1 1 9 9
ICO 19 0 6 3 28 28
Ext ICO 35 2 2 11 50 50
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
ECO 0 3 0 0 3 3
CO 39 2 1 30 72 72
Totals 110 10 12 47 179 179
Mallow
SO 70 0 8 74 152 61
Rev CO 17 0 1 20 28 9
Re-entry 19 0 1 11 31 14
Other 5 1 5 9 20 18
ICO 27 0 4 25 56 40
Ext ICO 11 3 4 3 21 7
Ext CO 10 0 0 9 19 12
ECO 8 1 0 1 10 10
CO 43 0 1 33 77 39
Totals 210 5 24 185 424 210
Monaghan
SO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rev CO 0 0 3 0 3 3
Re-entry 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0
ICO 13 0 0 0 13 13
Ext ICO 8 0 0 0 8 11
Ext CO 0 0 0 1 1 0
ECO 1 0 0 0 1 1
CO 9 0 6 15 30 11
Totals 31 0 9 16 56 39
Mullingar
SO 10 0 0 0 10 8
Rev CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Re-entry 0 0 1 5 6 3
Other 9 1 9 4 14 13
ICO 15 15 0 16 46 18
Ext ICO 1 0 0 0 1 1
Ext CO 0 0 0 1 1 0
ECO 10 0 1 2 13 12
CO 10 1 0 82 93 11
Totals 55 17 11 110 184 66
Naas
SO 5 0 0 0 5 4
Rev CO 1 0 1 24 26 1
Re-entry 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 3 1 0 4 8 5
ICO 10 0 0 4 14 9
Ext ICO 58 2 2 1 63 67
Ext CO 1 0 0 0 1 1
ECO 2 0 1 1 4 4
CO 5 0 0 74 79 11
Totals 85 3 4 108 200 102
Nenagh
SO 19 0 0 2 23 20
Rev CO 10 0 1 82 93 5
Re-entry 4 1 0 8 13 5
Other 2 0 0 56 58 9
ICO 46 3 2 11 62 46
Ext ICO 50 2 3 14 69 58
Ext CO 11 0 0 4 15 5
ECO 10 2 0 0 12 12
CO 37 0 4 118 161 63
Totals 189 8 10 299 506 223
Portlaoise
SO 2 0 0 1 3 2
Rev CO 0 0 0 4 4 0
Re-entry 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 6 1 2 9 18 8
ICO 7 1 0 2 10 6
Ext ICO 9 2 0 1 12 11
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
ECO 0 0 0 0 0 0
CO 2 0 0 1 3 2
Totals 26 4 2 18 50 29
Roscommon
SO 0 0 0 9 9 9
Rev CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Re-entry 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 4 0 0 6 10 10
ICO 10 0 0 11 21 21
Ext ICO 14 0 0 0 14 14
Ext CO 17 0 0 1 18 18
ECO 6 0 0 6 12 12
CO 7 1 0 28 36 36
Totals 58 1 0 61 120 120
Sligo
SO 21 0 3 4 28 26
Rev CO 1 0 0 0 1 1
Re-entry 2 0 1 4 7 7
Other 13 1 1 1 16 16
ICO 80 1 1 12 94 78
Ext ICO 64 0 0 0 64 64
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
ECO 14 0 1 2 17 19
CO 8 1 3 105 117 56
Totals 203 3 10 128 344 267
Tralee (includes Listowel)
SO 19 0 0 1 20 19
Rev CO 3 0 0 8 11 7
Re-entry 3 0 0 4 7 5
Other 4 0 0 0 4 8
ICO 31 0 1 11 43 33
Ext ICO 5 1 6 0 12 16
Ext CO 85 0 3 4 92 84
ECO 9 0 0 0 0 9
CO 28 0 0 13 41 34
Totals 187 1 10 41 239 215
Trim
SO 4 0 0 0 0 4
Rev CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Re-entry 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 14 0 0 11 25 25
ICO 48 0 0 12 60 60
Ext ICO 234 0 6 17 257 257
Ext CO 1 0 0 0 1 1
ECO 1 0 0 1 2 2
CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 302 0 6 41 349 349
Tullamore
SO 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rev CO 0 0 0 7 7 3
Re-entry 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 10 0 0 3 13 7
ICO 1 0 4 4 9 5
Ext ICO 1 0 0 0 1 1
Ext CO 0 0 0 0 0 0
ECO 2 0 0 0 0 2
CO 3 1 0 0 4 4
Totals 17 1 4 14 36 22
Waterford
SO 47 0 7 15 69 60
Rev CO 1 0 1 19 21 12
Re-entry 4 1 0 10 15 15
Other 11 0 0 18 29 11
ICO 109 18 21 28 176 139
Ext ICO 15 0 0 1 16 16
Ext CO 3 0 0 7 10 4
ECO 11 0 0 0 11 11
CO 86 55 59 49 249 195
Totals 287 74 88 147 596 453
Wexford
SO 35 3 8 17 63 38
Rev CO 2 0 3 44 49 7
Re-entry 1 0 0 4 5 1
Other 27 5 6 68 106 36
ICO 32 1 2 42 77 35
Ext ICO 236 11 14 6 267 276
Ext CO 2 0 0 0 2 2
ECO 18 0 0 0 18 18
CO 21 4 14 309 348 26
Totals 374 24 47 490 935 439
Youghal
SO 18 0 2 10 30 24
Rev CO 7 0 0 6 13 13
Re-entry 2 0 1 4 7 3
Other 10 0 0 11 21 15
ICO 7 4 2 1 14 13
Ext ICO 4 0 0 0 4 2
Ext CO 3 0 0 0 3 6
ECO 1 0 0 0 1 1
CO 34 0 3 3 40 39
Totals 86 4 8 35 133 116

View the Courts Service Child Care Statistics for 2014

View the Courts Service Child Care Statistics for 2013

View the Courts Service Child Care Statistics for 2012

View the Courts Service Child Care Statistics for 2011