Aftercare review of girl with special needs expects application under new capacity Act – 2023vol2#40

The judge in a rural town concluded the aftercare review of a young girl who had been the subject of a full care order but had now reached the age of 18. The judge had asked the guardian ad litem (GAL) to remain appointed, and it was expected an application under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act might be made.

The solicitor for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) said the girl had an array of needs. She was thought to be on the autistic spectrum but might also have psychiatric and/or disability disorders. The girl had been in the care of the CFA for the last two years. She had been placed in two different residential units, but these had not been successful.

When the girl reached her eighteenth birthday she had returned home. At present the girl was managing at home but it was recognised this was not going to be a long-term solution. The girl had been referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) disability services and it was agreed there would be a joint assessment of her needs. It was also recognised that an application under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 might need to be made. The girl may need a co-decision maker or a decision-making representative.

It was hoped the girl would attend a day centre as she had stopped attending school some years previously. The solicitor said that there had been some assessments of her needs, but final reports had not been published and the joint assessment of need was still to be conducted.

The solicitor for the GAL said that there had been some progress. The girl was more settled at home, but her needs were significant, and home would not be a long-term solution. The GAL said she welcomed the input from all services. A professionals’ meeting would be convened once all assessments had been completed and published. From that meeting, a plan to meet the girl’s needs could be made.

The judge said that she would conclude the review as the girl had now technically left the care of the CFA. She thanked the GAL for her input with the girl. The judge asked if the GAL would remain appointed until the assessments had been completed and a plan for the girl was made. The GAL confirmed her willingness to do this. The CFA confirmed they would remain involved with the girl and her family as necessary until the HSE had fully taken over the girl’s care.