Care order discharged to facilitate family reunification – 2020vol2#40

A judge in a rural town discharged a care order for two children of primary school age, children A and B, in order to facilitate the reunification of the children with their mother. The lawyer for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) told the judge that the CFA was applying for the immediate discharge of the care order as the children’s mother was now in a position to care for her children well.

The social worker told the court that there was a history of both parents having serious addiction problems. The father had spent time in prison but the mother had successfully addressed her addiction problems and had made a very good recovery. The children had been returned to the care of their mother and the father was still in prison. The social worker reported that there had been some initial “teething problems” following the children’s return home but that their mother continued to engage well with the social work department.

The lawyer for the CFA told the court she was applying for an immediate discharge of the care order for A and B to facilitate reunification of the children with their mother. The judge asked the CFA lawyer if there was a necessity to grant a supervision order but the social worker replied that this was not required in this case.

The judge discharged the care orders for the children.


Child ageing out of care aims to study to become social worker

In the same court the judge in a rural town said it was a “good outcome story” to hear that a child of senior post-primary school level wanted to study to become a social worker as soon as she aged out of the care system. The court heard that the child was in care with foster parents in the UK.

Her social worker told the court that A’s father lived in Ireland and had regular telephone contact with her. The judge remarked that it was good to hear a “good story” and he listed the matter for a date four months later for the submission of A’s aftercare plan so that it could be completed before she aged out of care.

Court orders funding for young child with exceptional special needs

The judge made an order granting a request for urgent funding for a child of primary school age, child A, who had exceptional special needs. The court heard that A, who was non-verbal and was functioning at the level of a ten-month old, had been in care since the age of nine months. The child’s guardian ad litem (GAL) outlined the urgent resources required due to A’s special needs.

A’s parents were both represented but were not present in court. The court heard the child’s father lived in Ireland but never visits and her mother lived in the UK. The mother wanted the child to move to the UK and reside in a residential care unit there. The social worker reported that A’s mother had visited the child periodically but had been unable to travel since the Covid-19 restrictions. The Child and Family Agency (CFA) had organised video calls between A and her mother but the mother had only engaged on one occasion.

The social worker told the court that A was very happy with her foster parents and that her health had improved after a feeding peg was fitted following feeding difficulties. She attended a special school and was transported there daily. She was facilitated with a range of required therapies including speech and language therapy and occupational therapy. The judge said that this was “a particularly sad case” but that it was very well-managed.

The GAL told the judge that A was “thriving” in the care of her foster parents. He outlined a number of resources urgently required. He explained that A was on a waiting list for a wheelchair and was told that this could take a very long time. He told the judge that the girl was currently using a buggy but that she did not like using it now. She had only recently learned to sit up and a wheelchair was now an urgent requirement. The GAL reported that a hoist would be required for her care. A bathroom conversion was also required to better facilitate her ongoing personal care.

The lawyer for the CFA said that A was a very vulnerable child with exceptional needs. The current care order was due to expire after two years. The judge ordered that funds should be made available for the requirements outlined by the GAL. The matter was listed for a date six months later to ensure the funds had been provided and the judge granted liberty to the CFA to come back to court in the interim if necessary.