Care orders for unaccompanied minors with no identifying documentation – 2021vol1#13

A District Court in a regional town made two full care orders to 18 years in respect of two unaccompanied minors from the middle east, where the children had no identifying documentation but the social worker from the Child and Family Agency was of the opinion that the children were truthful about their ages and identities.

The social worker informed the court that applications of this nature were generally dealt with by Dublin District Court and a number of interim orders were generally made before a full care order to 18 years. She said that the CFA looked to reunify children who had a family member in Ireland, whereas in these cases, the children did not have any family in this jurisdiction.

In relation to the first child, the social worker said that he had spent between nine and twelve months travelling to Ireland and he had left his home country with the assistance of his family, because they believed he was going to be killed. The judge asked if there was any way of verifying the child’s name or age and the social worker said that in his home country all citizens receive a document when they turn seven years old. She said that he did not have any documentation but she was of the opinion that he presented as a fifteen-year-old. The judge said that he could see the logic of granting an interim care order as opposed to a full care order where the CFA was awaiting formal identity. The social worker said that she could not indicate how long or whether the identity document would be received.

In relation to the second child, the social worker said that the child’s father was deceased and his mother was in his home country. She said that he had told her he had lost his phone travelling to Ireland and did not have any way of contacting his family and could not obtain his identifying documents. The judge asked: “Does the child present as being sixteen years old?” and the social worker said: “Yes, absolutely”.

The judge asked if there was any reason why an interim care order would be more appropriate and the social worker said that she did not have any age concerns and did not believe that the child had any relatives in Ireland, and in those circumstances she said that a full care order would be appropriate.

The social worker told the court that both children were doing very well and were in a residential placement in the town. The children had arrived separately five months previously and were receiving all of the supports they required.

The judge commented that he did not deal with many of these applications and made a full care order to 18 years in respect of both children.