Care orders for four children made with agreement of parents – 2023vol1#32

A full care order hearing was listed before the Dublin District Court for three days. However, following detailed discussions and negotiations throughout the day, legal representatives for the mother and the Child and Family Agency (CFA) confirmed towards the end of the day that agreement had been reached in relation to the four children.

The father was represented but was not present and it was reported by his lawyer that he had not provided any instructions in relation to the application. The father was formally called to court for the purpose of the court records but did not show up.

It was confirmed to the court by the CFA lawyer and the lawyer for the mother that agreement had been reached. A care order was made in relation to the two oldest children up to the age of 18. One of those children was also subject to a special care order, which was being dealt with in the High Court.

In relation to the two younger children an 18-month care order was agreed between the parties on consent, subject to certain arrangements, assessments and reports being carried out. An addendum of these agreements was to be submitted to the court following the hearing once it was fine-tuned. The matter was due to come back for a logistical review in four weeks’ time to ensure progress on the matters agreed. In addition, the case would come back before the court in three months’ time for an update.

Formal evidence was heard from the social worker and from the guardian ad litem (GAL).

Initially the GAL was supporting a full care order up to the age of 18 for all four children. However, following discussions throughout the day the GAL was supportive and happy with the 18-month order for the two youngest children. A continuing no-contact order between one of the older children and their father remained. It was noted that, should matters change, that this no-contact order could be revisited.

It was noted to the court that the mother wished to work with the CFA with the objective of reunification with her two youngest children.

The judge acknowledged the mother’s engagement and said it was heartening to see the mother in court. The judge said he hoped the 18-month care order would assist towards reunification with the two younger children and made the required orders. He said a three-day case would not help any of the children.