Boy needs counselling following death of friend – 2015vol2#25

In a District Court in a provincial city during a review of Care Order of a teenage boy, his GAL said that the boy had been very affected by the death of a friend last year but was receiving counselling at school but “there is something unsettled in him in the last year”. This was among eight cases dealt with that day.

The GAL said that the boy was getting bereavement support at school and was engaging with the social care team leader but indicated that he might need a more holistic approach, saying: “It looks like he may need someone who is looking at the totality, his identity, coming of age, his need to establish his identity with his birth mother. I made contact with people in the adoption service and they confirmed that this unsettled period happens. They have specific services for these [issues].”

The GAL suggested a more focussed piece of work and asked the court to allow that to continue, pointing out that the school counselling is presumably going to finish at the end of the school year and there will be an opportunity when that happens to put in place further supports. She also told the court that the school had said that they were happy with the boy over the last two weeks and he had said he wanted to go home. The judge put the matter back for further review in two months’ time.

An application for a Supervision Order was adjourned to allow the father get legal representation. He was serving a prison sentence but was present in court. The judge explained the meaning of the Supervision Order to the father and asked him did he have any questions.

The mother was legally represented but not present in court and her solicitor said that the mother did not consent to application. The mother’s solicitor said that the mother knew that the father would like to talk to her and on that basis the judge issued another body warrant for the father for the following week and adjourned the matter until that time.

A Supervision Order was granted on consent in a case where the mother was receiving treatment for alcohol dependency. The judge set the matter for a review in six months time

Another Supervision Order was granted in respect of a child who had been found wandering around outside in his pyjamas with no shoes on. The CFA solicitor had sought directions that the parents engage with certain services but the judge noted that he could not make such a direction as part of the Supervision Order.

During a review of another Care Order, the CFA solicitor said that the child was doing well and that the father wished to address the court but had no legal representation. The matter was adjourned for six weeks so that the father could get legal assistance and to allow the mother to meet the social worker. The CFA solicitor said that the child was in a relative foster placement and “the family are very motivated for the girl”.

In another short review of a Care Order the CFA solicitor said that the boy was doing very well in care and was due to sit his Junior Certificate.

An extension of a Care Order was granted for three months for three children where the court was told the children were doing well. The mother’ solicitor told the court that she was seeking increased access. The judge said that he wished to see the children’s school reports on the next occasion. A social worker gave evidence that the mother was “quite unwell” and there was evidence of heroin use and that the Gardaí had been called in circumstances where the mother had been threatening suicide. The mother’s solicitor asked that the mother’s parents be assessed as foster parents.

An application for Supervision Order was refused in respect of a girl who had been missing a lot of school and who had not gone on a school trip because her parents had refused to sign the consent form. The judge observed that the girl had a very sheltered life and should be participating in more activities in order to build up her immune system.

In refusing to make the Supervision Order the judge noted that the parents had said that the girl’s school attendance would improve and that she would go swimming. The judge said he would make no directions about school trips but that the girl must go to school full-time and go swimming. The parents were not legally represented.