Court adjourns care review of a nine-year-old boy in residential care – 2018vol1#19

In an application to adjourn the care review of a nine-year-old child, a District Court in a rural town heard that the boy had been placed in a residential facility in the last few weeks as his foster carers were unable to meet his needs. The child, who had been diagnosed with a high moderate level of intellectual disability, was on a full care order with his ten-year-old brother who was in the same foster placement.

The case was among four applications, two of which related to the adjournment of care plan reviews. The third related to the extension of an interim care order and the setting down of a date for a full care order hearing for two children and the fourth related to consent for a passport application and travel for a foster child.

The CFA social work team leader said the boy had complex needs and had a disability and his foster carers were saddened that they were unable to meet his needs and that another foster care placement could not be found. When the social worker visited the boy, who was in the new placement in another county, she said he “was proud of his new room. He thinks he is on holiday and doesn’t comprehend [that this is] long term, it hasn’t hit him that he is not going back. He phones the foster mother every night.”

She said that the CFA was inviting the HSE to the child’s statutory child care review as “they are the experts [on] dealing with disability.” The court heard the CFA was applying to have the HSE joined as a notice party to the child care proceedings and was adjourning the application to the next date.

When asked by the judge if the situation had been explained to the parents, the CFA social work team leader said she had gone through her court report with the parents. She said the parents were supportive of their children and understood the situation. She said the boy’s mother had lost her own mother during the previous week and “it was very good of her to come to court”.

The judge said she wanted to firstly acknowledge the mother was here in very difficult circumstances and had been recently bereaved and the fact she had come to court demonstrated how concerned she was.

The CFA solicitor said the CFA was looking for a GAL who had experience with disability and passed a GAL curriculum vitae up to the judge.

The CFA solicitor confirmed with the judge that the GAL could attend the care plan meeting regarding the boy scheduled for the following week. An application to lift the in camerarule was granted by the judge so that the CFA could share the boy’s reports with the HSE in advance of the care plan meeting.

When the judge asked the parents: “Is there anything the parents would like to say?” they said: “The boys have not seen their cousins for a while.” The social work team leader agreed to look into the matter.

The judge said: “Having heard the evidence. It is obviously of concern that B has had to go into a residential situation and I fully understand the circumstances and background and every effort to address the ongoing situation. I noted the up to date position, and adjourn the review to the September date and am appointing a GAL and adjourning the HSE application to the same date and also lifting the in camerarule”.