Consent to interim care order for one-week-old baby with drugs in system – 2020vol1#43

The CFA made an application for an initial care order in respect of a baby that was born six days earlier and remained in hospital. The court was told that the mother consented to an interim care order for 28 days. The CFA solicitor said that the father was on notice of the application but was not present and the court registrar called the father over the intercom but he did not attend.

The judge said that he had read the report and affidavit of the social worker handed in and described it as a “distressing report” and “extraordinarily concerning”. The child was born and tested positive for cocaine, benzos, methadone and heroin.

The barrister for the mother said that the mother was hoping to move in a positive direction and that she was anxious to get into a mother and baby home. The court was told that the mother had obtained an interim barring order against her partner the previous day and the full barring order was before the family court again at the end of the week. The barrister described it as a “crucial order required by the CFA”.

The barrister said that the mother was committed to give as many clean urine tests as required by the CFA and as the mother had previously been clean from drugs for seven years and she is optimistic to take those steps. The barrister said that the CFA and social workers were hopefully open to supporting her and facilitating her progress in a positive way.

The solicitor for the CFA said that the family court orders the previous day were “welcomed” by the CFA and they noted that the mother had committed to urinalysis and engaging with the drug services in a meaningful way. The solicitor said that he would identify the entry criteria for gaining entry to a mother and baby home and will look into the individuals identified by the mother who may be able to provide care for the baby.

The allocated social worker gave evidence to the court and said that she had been allocated since January 2020. The social worker said that it was her professional opinion that the child’s welfare, development and health would be neglected if the order was not made by the court and that there was no appropriate alternative option in her professional opinion. The grounds identified for the order sought were the toxicology results of the baby on his birth and that he remained in hospital, the concern of physical and emotional neglect with the mother’s drug use and the care to be provided and the potential that the baby would be exposed to domestic violence between his parents. The social worker said that there were arrangements for access five days a week and efforts would be made to facilitate breast feeding if appropriate.

The barrister for mother the mother confirmed with the social worker that the mother had expressed milk and was medically fit to do that and as long as the medical advice was that breast feeding was appropriate the CFA were happy to facilitate that.

The social worker confirmed that the CFA would be following up on the people identified and recommended to provide care. The social worker said that they were happy to work with mother and confirmed that they would explain to the mother any further steps she could take or supports that would benefit her.

The court was asked to list the matter for mention on 5th June 2020 and it was hoped at that stage the mother would be able to produce the barring order to the court.

Judge: “This is a very sad case to read mostly in respect of a child born six days ago. So many parents around the world would love to have a baby and can’t have one for various reasons.”

The judge said that he had read and heard the evidence and the court was satisfied to make the interim care order as there was reasonable cause to believe that several circumstances existed that the child should be placed in the care of the CFA . The interim care order was made with the consent of the mother to late June 2020. As the father was not present there was no consent indicated by the father. The usual directions were made and a direction was made that the CFA were to facilitate breastfeeding and access by the mother. The judge appointed a guardian ad litem for the child pursuant to section 26 of the Child Care Act 1991.