Case Reports 2024 Volume 1

Reporters from the Child Law Project attend cases in District Courts around the country selected on a random basis, and cases in the High Court involving children and young people in secure care and those made Wards of Cou rt. We publish below the latest volume of case reports.

Given the nature of some of the cases, which can go on for many months with multiple adjournments, not all reports published below are complete, but rather reflect what happened in court on that day. We categorise the reports under six headings and multiple sub-headings, several reports could have been categorised under more than one heading.



  1. Supreme Court upholds High Court judgments that CFA must apply for special care orders for troubled children who need such care
  2. Circuit Court dismisses parents’ appeals against District Court care orders for two teenage children until the age of 18

Care Applications – Child Abuse and Neglect

Supervision Order

  1. Supervision Order granted where young child had effectively missed two years school

Emergency Care Order

  1. Emergency Care Order for newborn baby while mother under psychiatric care, interim care order granted later

Interim Care Orders

Initial Interim Care Order

  1. Adjournment of interim care order hearing to allow mother engage with CFA
  2. Interim care order made for baby of immigrant parents where older children alleged neglect, physical and sexual abuse
  3. Interim care order for boy from war-torn country after supervision order not complied with
  4. Interim care order on consent for child in care since birth; placement questioned after sexual content found on child’s iPad; judge seeks agency review of case

Extensions of Interim Care Orders

  1. Judge initially refuses to grant full extension of an interim care order because of a lack of an allocated social worker or team leader
  2. Interim care order extended for only two weeks as assessments and information on placement registration awaited
  3. Interim care orders extended for two weeks for two boys where court heard of threats and pressure from father to engage in criminality; one child speaks to judge
  4. Interim care order extended for teenager with gender dysphoria and engaging in criminal behaviour in unapproved placement; CFA acknowledges difficulties with SEAs
  5. Interim care orders extended for four children with parents’ consent
  6. Interim care order extended for unaccompanied minor
  7. Interim care order extended while assessments awaited for refugee child, habitual residence to be established
  8. Interim care order extended for a six-month-old baby with complex medical needs who remained in the children’s hospital
  9. Interim care orders extended for two children with significant needs; judge critical of HSE for projected year-long delay in providing service
  10. Interim care order extended, trafficked teenager permitted to travel to visit her dying mother, care order later made
  11. Four-month extension of interim care order for a one-year-old baby who had suffered serious injuries
  12. Interim care orders extended for four siblings living in residential home
  13. Interim care orders extended for six children, reunification possible
  14. Judge extends interim care order for one child, orders a further review of the supervision order for second 

Care Orders

  1. Care order till 18 for infant whose parents had been in care
  2. Care order for child whose mother deceased, no father identified
  3. Care order for child born as a result of rape, mother favours adoption
  4. Care orders to 18 for five neglected children who had been under supervision order; father sought short orders
  5. Care orders granted for three children where concerns for mother’s mental health
  6. Care order for teenage boy where mother is homeless
  7. Care order till 18 for teenager being supported in musical ambitions
  8. Care order granted for a 14-month-old child to the age of majority, mother has intellectual disability
  9. Care orders granted for two children where CFA first alerted to issues in 2017; reviews sought of decisions made before and after care applications made
  10. Care order and aftercare plan for girl where sexual exploitation under investigation
  11. Care orders for three children following failure of reunification of mother with one child
  12. One-year care order granted for child who needed to travel abroad for life-saving medical treatment
  13. One-year care order made for teenage boy who was living as a recluse in a virtual gaming world

Proceedings concerning Children in Care

Enhanced rights

  1. Enhanced rights granted to foster parents who described child as part of their family

Transfer of jurisdiction

  1. Judge transfers jurisdiction to UK for child born in Ireland, whose parents came here to evade UK social services and potential adoption of the child

Access Applications

  1. Judge refuses mother’s application for increased access to three teenage children
  2. Access for mother increased where judge states CFA took side of father against mother
  3. Judge praises teenager’s mother for positive steps taken to improve her life in order to form a bond with her daughter

Appropriate Placements

  1. No appropriate placement for boy with challenging behaviour facing criminal charges
  2. Six placement changes in six weeks for two children aged two and three years
  3. Judge orders urgent review to take place within two weeks for teenager in a placement unsuited to her needs
  4. Dublin District Court judge reluctant to make order for vulnerable girl in special emergency arrangement
  5. Judge concerned about suitable placements for five children as successive extensions of interim care orders sought, weekly extensions only granted
  6. CFA misled on supervision of non-verbal autistic child in private placement; placement abruptly ended
  7. Judge considers residential placement for child with serious special needs at home under supervision order; problems for siblings; no placement found
  8. Teenager’s case re-entered following placement break-down amid risk-taking behaviour, judge has “no words” for her situation

Re-entries, Judicial Directions, Reviews & Section 47 Applications

  1. GAL appointed to hear voice of child with special needs whose mother refused to accept directions in earlier supervision order
  2. Judge directs child travel by taxi to school to end of academic year following placement breakdown
  3. Mother’s consent dispensed with to allow child go on holiday with foster parents; mother told to take down social media posts
  4. Mother directed not to attend the church for child’s First Holy Communion; attend a party on the day before instead
  5. Judge advises parents of child in care at home to apply for legal representation immediately
  6. Judge hears boy’s allegations he was subjected to bad experiences in foster placement
  7. Judge directs CFA to fund private speech and language therapy if HSE Children’s Disability Network Team could not provide it within 12 weeks
  8. Court hears of a “spectacular example of statutory agencies not working together” in case of autistic teenager
  9. Judge critical of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for delay in issuing report following assessment of child in care
  10. Judge joins CAMHS as notice party to explain why a child on priority list for over 18 months had not received any service
  11. Child with complex needs did not meet threshold under joint protocol between CFA and HSE
  12. Review hears of ongoing problems in providing home tuition for anxious child
  13. Review of care orders for two young children where placement moved.
  14. Application renewed and further adjourned to lift in camera rule to refer CFA Signs of Safety policy to Ombudsman for Children


  1. Large number of cases re-entered in Dublin District Court because no allocated social worker
  2. Two cases re-entered by court because no social worker allocated, in one mother had turned her life around


  1. After-care plan to include arrangements for art classes and updated medical report for talented teenage girl
  2. Judge directs CFA to pay full after-care allowance to young person thought by CFA to be vulnerable

Special Care

  1. Special care system “in crisis”, lack of special care beds “a tsunami about to reach shore and nothing is being done” – High Court judge
  2. Special care application to be forwarded to the committee ahead of release of a troubled teenage boy from remand
  3. Court hears of lack of special care bed for boy missing in care; judge outlines questions for SEAs
  4. No bed for very vulnerable girl under special care order; allegation she had been raped while in care, fear of sexual exploitation; Judge: “This is the worst case I have ever come across.”

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