Court rules parents should have advocates for continuing case– 2015vol2#5

An application for guardianship by a father was adjourned to the hearing of a Care Order application for his children. The father had said he would consent to the Care Order but was seeking guardianship and access. The children had also asked for increased access with their father. This was one of a number of cases heard that day.

The judge said: “Nobody is prejudiced if I don’t deal with guardianship today” and said that it would be dealt with at the hearing of the Care Order. He said that if there was any suspicion in relation to one of the children’s drug use that should be dealt with.

The judge said: “The only aspect of this case which causes me concern is the father’s application for access. I wasn’t happy with the CFA’s objections on the last occasion. I thought there might be something more in the psychologist’s report. I accept what the professionals are saying but the children want access and it happened and in my view there was no basis for any concern on the last occasion. I don’t have any great concerns about the children’s safety, they want it to happen and it has happened.”

The judge said that with some reservation he would leave matters as they stand although he did “have concerns about it, particularly the way it was addressed in evidence on the last day.” The judge extended the Interim Care Order until the adjourned date.

The solicitor for the GAL asked whether the judge wanted to give directions as to the appointment of advocates to both parents as concerns were raised in relation to their understanding of issues during interaction with the social work department. The solicitor for the GAL said that it was her belief that “it would be helpful to have advocates”. The judge said that advocates should be in place.

Consent to Interim Care Order

A mother who was residing “in a hostel or with friends”, according to the CFA, consented to an Interim Care Order for her young child. She was not legally represented.

A social worker told the court that the main concern in the case was the mother’s involvement with the child’s father and that she had been in and out of women’s refuges. She said that she believed the mother was either homeless or residing with friends and that she “wouldn’t feel it is safe for (the mother) to have baby in such an unsupported, unsafe environment.”

The social worker said that she had made contact with the County Council where she knew the woman to be and was hoping to find accommodation for her in a women’s refuge but the County Council had said that as she was “on the housing list she could not get a placement”.

The judge told the woman that it was important that she base herself somewhere.
The judge granted the Interim Care Order, on consent, for two weeks saying that “hopefully in that time you will be able to get something done in terms of housing.”

Interim Care Order granted where mother out of country

An Interim Care Order was granted where the mother of the children seemed to be out of the country and appeared to have legal representation but no solicitor was present in court.

A social worker told the court that the CFA would be looking for a long term Care Order but that it would be preferable for the mother to be present and legally represented.

The child had originally come into care under a voluntary arrangement but the mother had later withdrawn her consent and an Emergency Care Order had been granted. The social worker said that the child was doing well and a number of attempts had been made to send the child back to his mother but that the mother was in a violent relationship so this was not possible. The mother had also been found to be drinking when caring for her son and the boy had woken up with strange men in the bed with him.

The court heard that an application had been made for a passport for the boy but the mother had collected the passport and had not handed it over to the CFA. The Interim Care Order was granted for one week and the judge said that it was important that the mother be notified of what happened and that an interpreter was with her at all times in court.