A full Care Order until the age of 18 was granted for a teenage boy [A] alleged to have abused two other children and to have been involved in armed robberies. The child was in care under an Interim Care Order at the time of the alleged robberies, but kept absconding.
Applying for the Care Order, the solicitor for the CFA said the boy was now on remand in a juvenile detention centre having been arrested in connection with two armed robberies. The solicitor told the judge that the boy would shortly be appearing on criminal charges in the local district court. Both parents were now consenting to a full Care Order until the boy reached the age of 18.
The CFA social worker said the teenager came into care in 2013 due to allegations that he had sexually abused two children on a halting site. There were concerns about the mother’s capacity to supervise him. He was placed in a residential unit and, while he cooperated for the first three months, he began to abscond and had absconded from care a total of 44 times.
Initially, he would go to Dublin and there had been major concerns as he had been spending a lot of time with his father. The boy had disclosed physical abuse by his father which had been confirmed by his mother. The social worker said she had been told by the gardai that the father had been found in possession of heroin and he also abused alcohol.
The boy had been involved in minor criminal activities and he met the criteria for a special care facility but no bed had been available for him. They had continued to try and get a bed in a special care facility but his behaviour had escalated and the Special Care Committee had found that he no longer met the criteria as detention was now the priority.
Having started with petty theft, his behaviour had escalated to two armed robberies, one of which was at an off licence where he had threatened a member of the staff. He was accompanied by another young male. He produced a hammer at one robbery and a hammer and a Stanley knife at the other. The social worker said she had expressed her fear concerning the escalation of his violent behaviour at the previous hearing.
He was doing very well in the detention centre and was asking to remain there until he was 18. “His behaviour has improved considerably,” she said. “He is doing very well there”. The CFA was looking to the possibility that he would be returned to the care of the CFA after his court appearance. It would not be safe to put him back into the family unit and it would not be in his best interests to put him with his father due to the father’s drug and alcohol use and his history of violence towards the boy and his mother.
The social worker said that two of the other children in the family had made disclosures of sexual abuse. After they made their disclosures, their behaviour had spiralled out of control and their mother “then began to really struggle.” Three of the children had hearing impairments and one had “extremely challenging behaviour.” She said the CFA was actively looking for foster care for one of the boys [B] who had been abused.
The mother said she was looking after him “24/7”. “Following the boys’ disclosures she really suffered. We’re going to try and get him into care for a while”. She said they were trying to work with the mother to give her the skills to care for the children. “If the mother can prove to us she can care for him we will return B,” she said. There had been a lack of supervision and a failure to protect her children.
At the earlier Interim Care Order hearing the CFA social worker told the court that a parenting capacity assessment had been carried out on the mother of A and his six siblings. The parents were separated and the father was not participating in the proceedings.
The mother had consented to an extension of the order for the boy. The mother also consented to medical examination of all her children. This confirmed that two of them had been sexually abused anally. The children named A and a cousin as the perpetrators.
This hearing heard A kept absconding from his residential placement and was thought to be spending time with his father. There was concern about this as his father was very violent, was involved in drinking and in using and selling heroin. He had threatened to burn down his mother’s house. After contact with his father A was very aggressive to his mother and to care staff.
The CFA was recommending that A remain in the residential unit and commenced treatment in relation to the allegations he had abused children and his relationship with his father. He needed to be assessed for the risk he posed to children and what level of supervision he needed. There was an allegation he had raped a child.
The unit he was in at the moment was open and he came and went from it. He had picked up with the cousin against whom allegations had also been made. The CFA was in the process of considering placing him in a more secure unit. He was considered a risk to himself and others.
The CFA solicitor said that the mother consented to the extension of the order. The father did not, but he was not present in court and was not represented. The order was extended until it came up for the full Care Order hearing a month later. By this time he was in the juvenile detention centre of remand.