Care Order made on consent without evidence – 2014vol3#20

A judge in a rural town made a Care Order for a teenage girl who, according to the CFA solicitor, had very complex needs. The case had been assigned a special hearing date in the District Court and the parents had intended opposing the CFA’s application for the Care Order. Following an hour of negotiations the court was told the parents were consenting to the order and no evidence was heard.

The parents consented to the order placing their daughter in care until she reaches the age of 18. The CFA’s solicitor told the judge that the parents had decided to consent to the Care Order “with a heavy heart” when he handed in Terms of Agreement. The solicitor said the child had very complex needs and she had previously experienced problems in care.

The solicitor told the judge that CFA social workers were in court as well as the child’s guardian ad litem (GAL), with her solicitor, and a clinical psychologist. Both parents were also present in court and were represented by a private solicitor. The solicitor for the GAL said she was supporting the application for the Care Order.

The judge read the Terms of Agreement and made the Care Order without hearing any evidence. He awarded costs to the parents and said he would fix the costs if they could not be agreed with the CFA. The hearing lasted approximately ten minutes.