Case re-entered due to breakdown of foster care placement- 2022vol2#34

The case of a child in foster care was re-entered in the Dublin District Court due to the breakdown of the foster care placement. Reports from the guardian ad litem (GAL) and the social worker were handed into the judge.

The solicitor for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) told the court that unfortunately, as of the date of the hearing, another placement had not been found. The child was still in the original placement for the moment and there were ongoing enquiries to identify a new placement, which had been extended to consider a possible residential placement. It was hoped that a new placement would be found in the coming weeks.

The mother was present in court. Her barrister indicated that the mother was not raising any issues at this time and knew that the foster placement had broken down.

The child had requested that the court appoint him a guardian ad litem (GAL) and the CFA had no issue with this.  The mother also had no issues with the appointment of the GAL. A GAL had been appointed.

The barrister for the GAL recommended that the child undergo a psychological assessment. Everyone was in agreement with this suggestion.

It was recommended that the matter be listed for mention in four weeks’ time to provide the court with an update on the placement issue. It was hoped that a suitable placement would be available before Christmas.

The barrister for the GAL informed the court that the child had had a difficult enough previous year. The GAL met with the child to tease out whether or not she should stay at the placement. However, over summer a number of issues arose and the current placement became unsustainable.

The GAL identified some emotional issues that might require therapy. The GAL anticipated a timeline of returning before the court in March 2023 by which date a psychological assessment of the child would have taken place.

The child had shown a certain amount of insight into her behaviour. She acknowledged the concerns raised over her use of the social media app TikTok.

The CFA was ideally looking for a placement in the Dublin area near the child’s school. The child had indicated that she was quite open and willing to engage with a psychological assessment. It was noted that she had been attending a support service in relation to self harm and also CAMHS. There were significant concerns regarding her wellbeing.

The CFA solicitor asked that the matter go back in for mention, in the first instance in four weeks’ time if possible. It was hoped that at that stage, there would be an indication as to whether an onward placement was available. It was noted that the current foster carers will keep the child until the end of December, so while it was not an urgent matter in the context of some placements, it was still necessary to find a suitable place quickly.

The barrister for the GAL raised the issue of the GAL’s reappointment. The solicitor for the CFA had no issue with this. It was also noted to the court that funding was needed for the psychological assessment.

The judge put the matter in for mention four weeks later to review the placement situation with a further date to be set then in Spring 2023 following the completion of the psychological assessment.