The Child Care Law Reporting Project publishes here Volume 3 of the reports of proceedings taken under the Child Care Act 1991, as amended. The cases already published in Volumes 1 and 2 are available under the Archive heading. Some of them record earlier hearings of long-running cases, and this volume contains updates on those cases where we attended them. Where this occurs we indicate where the reports of the earlier proceedings can be found.
Most of the cases were taken in the District Court, but this volume also includes a Supreme Court ruling involving a child born in Ireland to an English mother who had arrived in Ireland two days before the birth of the child. The HSE claimed she had come to avoid care proceedings in the UK and sought to have the case referred back to the English courts. The High Court granted this application, and its ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Other cases published here include an Emergency Care Order for a child living in a direct provision centre for eight years, Care Orders for three children who were psychologically disturbed as a result of their early experiences in their family and the case of a family who avoided Care Orders by agreeing to attend a residential parenting course.
The majority of the cases published here were heard in Dublin Metropolitan District Court, but Volume 3 also includes a substantial number heard in provincial cities and towns. In order to ensure that the families cannot be identified the cities and towns are not named, and neither are the judges, for the same reason.
The cases published here continue to show that a large proportion of the proceedings brought by the HSE are based on the risks to children caused by alcohol or drug abuse on the part of the parents. In one the children of a homeless drug user were taken into care; in another an Emergency Care Order was granted for the baby of a young girl, herself a minor, who was abusing drugs; in a third a Care Order was granted for a child whose mother was unable to provide basic care because of her addictions.
However, in another case the judge made a Care Order for only seven months in order to allow the mother to deal with her problems with alcohol, lack of resources and accommodation.
These reports show that the HSE does not always obtain the orders it seeks. In one case an Emergency Care Order was refused for an African child who came to Ireland with four other children to be reunited with their father and uncle of one of them. DNA tests showed that the child was not the man’s daughter, though they were related, and this was the basis for the HSE seeking the order. However, the judge found the threshold for making the order had not been met, and refused to make it.
In another case the court refused a Supervision Order where the mother had had serious problems with alcohol abuse, but was now doing well. In another an application in a provincial city for a Care Order until the age of 18 for two young children was refused, and an order granted for a year instead, during which time the HSE was to work with the parents, who were separated, with a view to them caring for the children.
The third volume brings to over 90 the number of reports of such cases published by the Child Care Law Reporting Project. The earlier volumes are to be found in the Archive section of the website.