Case re-entered when child in unit found to be pregnant – 2014vol3#21

A case involving a teenager already in court in a high support residential unit was re-entered in the District Court as it was found that the teenager [A] was four and a half months pregnant.

The CFA solicitor told the court that A’s current high support unit was being reconfigured into a secure care unit and she had therefore been due to move. However the onward placement had now said they could not facilitate her for insurance reasons as she might need to be restrained, and that there were two other children in that unit whose behaviour had deteriorated considerably recently and may not be “the appropriate mix” for her to live with.

A professionals’ strategy meeting was due to be held the following day which would include the social worker, the guardian ad litem, the manager from her current placement and the general manager for placements in Ireland who dealt with private placements and CFA placements in the state. This was to decide on the best type of placement to meet her needs.

The general manager for placements and private placement would have to hear and understand the various behaviours of the pregnant minor, the solicitor said. The manager had a database of all the units in the country and could talk to the providers to see if they could provide for her needs.

The solicitor for A’s mother told the court that her mother was “extremely concerned as to how the pregnancy occurred” and had expressed concerns in relation to the child’s freedom. Furthermore the pregnancy had been identified late in the day. Her mother was “concerned at the effect at every level of the pregnancy on her child”.

One option being considered was a mother and baby home, said the solicitor for the CFA. However A had a history of aggressive behaviour in units, with property damage. She was attending a psychologist in CAMHS and supports continued to be available to her when she wanted them.

The mother’s solicitor said her client wished to know where the apprehended insurance deficit came from.  Was it that the onward placement did not generally deal with pregnant girls or were her behaviour difficulties posing the problem?

The risk factor to the child in a placement had to be considered, said the solicitor for the CFA. The mother’s solicitor pressed him on the subject, saying she “just wanted to know if insurance alone precluded her from going there.”

The CFA solicitor said that everything would be explained at the professionals’ strategy meeting the following day. The teenager was subsequently moved to a single occupancy placement attached to a high support unit.