Aftercare plan to include arrangements for art classes and updated medical report for talented teenage girl – 2024vol1#65

A judge in a provincial city directed that an aftercare plan for a teenage girl (Child A) include arrangements for art classes in the future as the child was a talented artist who had been commissioned to create pieces. The court heard that A had suffered homelessness and trauma in her earlier years but was now in a stable placement where she felt wanted and was progressing very well. The judge was told that A was to receive counselling as she had made suicide attempts before she moved to the caring placement and an updated medical report was ordered.

The social worker told the court that A had settled well in her placement, despite having had an unstable earlier life. She was studying for her Leaving Certificate Applied examination, was articulate about her plans for the future and had a very good attendance record. An aftercare worker had been appointed to A and she had been approved that her current placement could become supported lodgings. The aftercare worker planned to meet with A and put her aftercare plan in place.

The social worker informed the judge that A’s mental health had been a concerning issue in the past when she had suicidal ideation but that she was now more stable. She had been offered counselling with a male counsellor but preferred a female counsellor and was awaiting an appointment. The social worker told the lawyer for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) that A had not yet been successful in obtaining her passport despite the application having been made three months earlier. She hoped this could soon be sorted as she needed it for identification to open a bank account in her own name. The judge said she would be prepared to make a direction regarding the furnishing of the passport to expedite matters.

The guardian ad litem (GAL) told the court that A had gone through a difficult time in her life and that while, on the surface, she appeared to be very mature, she was vulnerable and had suffered homelessness. Her friend’s parents were her foster carers and A felt wanted in the home. The GAL said that the foster family was currently in receipt of family support financial assistance and that it was important that they receive the supported lodgings financial assistance in the future.

The GAL stressed the importance of A receiving counselling to prevent her from internalising trauma in the future. She had made suicide attempts previously when she was not in a stable, caring environment. She had been in a romantic relationship where advantage had been taken of her. She had a talent for art and had been commissioned to create some artworks.

The judge directed that the case be brought back before her two months later. She said she wanted to ensure that the passport issue was dealt with. The judge wanted to receive an updated medical assessment for A; she wanted to review the aftercare plan in place, including art classes for the future.