District Court approves aftercare plan – 2020vol2#47

The District Court approved an aftercare plan for a child (B) and complimented the Child and Family Agency (CFA) for the aftercare plan being so advanced, and the family, the CFA, the foster carers and the guardian ad litem (GAL) for working so well together.

The court heard that siblings A and B are in the same foster placement. A is over 18 years and has an aftercare plan in place and the CFA sought the approval of the court for the aftercare plan for child B, who is on the autistic spectrum. The CFA lawyer told the court there was one slight error in the aftercare plan but would ensure a corrected version of the plan will be handed into the court within one week.

The CFA social worker gave evidence that B is doing well in the foster placement, is settled and will be staying in the foster placement after the age of 18. The father of B consented to the aftercare plan and the social worker reported: “Dad was happy [B] is staying with the foster placement.” The social worker gave evidence that B’s mother was also happy with the aftercare plan and hoped that access would be resumed after the Covid 19 restrictions have been lifted.

The GAL reported B had been received into care in 2009, it had been a success story and all the essential building blocks were in place for B going into the future. The GAL told the court that, although B does have a diagnosis placing the child on the autistic spectrum, this had not had a negative impact for him.

The aftercare plan envisaged B going to further education in the form of a one-year preparatory course before starting university. The GAL said the child knew of the court dates but had chosen not to attend. He told the court he had no strong opinion about being retained, as B had a good relationship with the social worker and the foster carers and B’s foster carers were good advocates.

The judge commented that this was good news and he was reluctant to break up a team that had worked so well together for the benefit of the child. The judge discharged the GAL and said the matter could be re-entered if necessary.

Court agrees to the extension of an interim care order where the mother of the children is not contactable

Later, in another case, the District Court extended an interim care order for three siblings, A, B, and C. The application was supported by the children’s guardian ad litem.

The CFA solicitor informed the court the mother of these children was not represented, the social workers were unable to contact her, and in most unfortunate circumstances the father of these children died earlier this year. The social worker gave evidence that the children had been informed of this application. They were settled in their foster placement and their needs were being met.

The social worker told the court the children had not seen their mother for over a year. He said the children would like to see their mother, but he had been unable to contact her. The social worker said he normally contacts the mother by text, but this had been unsuccessful.

He added he had tried to contact the mother through various clinics she attends but this had not been successful either. He said he had been in contact with one clinic who gave him permission to attend to wait for her at her next appointment to try to arrange an access visit for the children for Christmas. The court acknowledged the efforts of the social worker.

The court extended the ICO and gave dates for a full care order hearing.