Care order till 18 for teenager being supported in musical ambitions – 2024vol1#29

A full care order until the age of 18 was granted by Dublin District Court where the child’s mother was ill and her father not involved in her life. The mother consented to the order.

The solicitor for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) told the court that the teenager was placed with her grandmother. The girl was concerned that her brother was not in care and was not receiving the supports she was receiving. There was agreement for the guardian ad litem (GAL) to remain for a period of six weeks to help in agreeing a narrative to be communicate to the teenager to reconcile her situation with that of her brother.

The CFA solicitor said the teenager was a talented musician and a special computer to enable her to make recordings had been funded by the CFA and they were willing to assist her to go to a recording studio. In addition, they had funded a laptop for her.

Social worker evidence

The social worker confirmed her professional opinion that the grounds for a care order continued to exist. The social worker confirmed the teenager was placed with her maternal grandmother and said the placement was meeting all of her needs. The social worker had regular contact with the teenager and had met her two weeks previously.

The teenager said she felt guilty that she was getting supports and her brother was not. The social worker had sought to explain that the cases were different. Supports were in place for her brother and there was someone to support the grandmother.

She said the access with her mother was going well and it was a good experience for both.

GAL evidence

The GAL supported the care order application to 18 years. She said the teenager had developed a musical interest after the death of her grandfather and she had a fantastic voice.

She said the grandmother was a proper “Irish granny” and was doing a fantastic job. The teenager was preparing to sit her Junior Cert and to continue onto the transition year programme. She was hoping to pursue a career in music. She said any bullying in the past seemed to have resolved itself. The GAL said the girl struggled with one subject and at the child-in-care review the CFA said they would support grinds.

She said the teenager had found counselling was helpful but she was very private and did not see herself as a child in care and found it difficult. The narrative for the teenager had to be around the distinction between the siblings.

The judge said he had the benefit of the care order booklet and had heard the evidence of both the social worker and the GAL and had received an updated care plan. He noted the mother was unable to attend but that she had consented to the care order being made and that no issues of concern had been raised.

He said the threshold had been met and that the order to 18 years was proportionate. He said the teenager wished to remain with her grandmother, she had been in voluntary care since 2013 and under an interim care order since 2023.

He said a fostering link worker should be appointed within four weeks, and if not the case should be re-entered.