Case Reports 2024 Volume 1 – Introduction

Reporters from the Child Law Project attend cases in District Courts around the country selected on a random basis, and cases in the High Court involving children and young people in special care and those made Wards of Court. We publish below the latest volume of case reports.

Given the nature of some of the cases, which can go on for many months with multiple adjournments, not all reports published below are complete, but rather reflect what happened in court on that day. We categorise the reports under six headings and multiple sub-headings.


This is the last volume of reports to be published by the Child Law Project under a three-year grant from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), which expires in October this year.

This volume comprises 70 reports – 67 from the District Court, one each from the Supreme Court, Circuit Court and High Court – attended by Child Law Project reporters over the first half of 2024.

Half of the District Court cases (33 reports) concern applications made by the Child and Family Agency – Tusla to take or maintain a child in care or under its supervision. Echoing previous volumes, key themes in these cases include parental mental health, capacity, addiction, homelessness, domestic violence and criminality.

The remaining District Court cases (34 reports) explore how children already in care are getting on. Some of these cases had come before the court for a scheduled review but in others they had come back to court due to a placement breakdown or a concern that the child was not being properly supported.

Many of the reports published today illustrate the positive life-changing impact of the care system. Despite these success stories, we continue to see members of the judiciary and other professionals expressing concern and frustration about failings in the care system and the dismal HSE response to meeting the disability or mental health needs of some children in care. We also continue to see the judiciary play an active role in monitoring progress and holding the CFA to account.

Unfortunately, the shortage of appropriate care placements – in foster care, residential care, high support units and special care – dominates this volume. It includes discussion in the Supreme Court, High Court and District Court on the ongoing lack of special care beds.

This volume contains several cases involved children from migrant families and unaccompanied minors, often fleeing war. Finally, this volume covers proceedings on a large number of cases where children in care had no allocated social worker for protracted periods of time, contrary to national policy.