Parents with disability agree to children remaining in care – 2014vol3#14

The judge in a rural town made a Care Order until 18 for two children who were already in care under Interim Care Orders. She told the parents, who had intellectual disabilities and were in court: “This is solely a question of capacity. You have all the capacity in the world to love your boys, but you don’t have the capacity to bring them up to function in society.”

An older child had been in care but had returned to his parents as a teenager and was now living with them. The parents’ solicitor asked if this might happen with the younger children.

A psychologist who had assessed the children said that their emotional and social functioning was very poor and this would all come up again when they reached puberty and adolescence. If they did not have emotional input and stimulation in their early life, which the parents were unable to provide, the parents would find it very difficult to cope. With supports, the two younger children could get their Junior Cert, the psychologist said.

“These are very decent people. It is not their fault they are unable to meet their children’s needs,” the CFA solicitor said.

“Absolutely,” replied the psychologist. “The children should spend more time with their parents. Family support workers will be there to help.”

The parents’ solicitor said that they accepted the boys were doing better in school since going into care. The social worker said the children very much felt their parents loved them. The social work department would be very happy to extend family visits. The parents had advocates who were cooperating with the CFA. The social work department would extend access, including overnights, in the next few weeks.

“Till they are 18 is a very long time,” the father said. “Can there be a review? See how we’re getting on?”

“Absolutely,” the judge replied. She fixed a review in two years’ time.