Emergency Care Order for children whose mother detained under Mental Health Act – 2016vol1#13

An Emergency Care Order was granted for two young teenagers whose mother had been involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act, 2001. The mother was an asylum seeker.

A member of An Garda Siochana told the court he received a call from a doctor who voiced his concerns regarding the mother. He said that members of An Garda Siochana called to the family’s home in order to check on the welfare of children. When he knocked on the front door he heard a commotion. He could hear the two children begging their mother to open the front door. When the mother opened the door she was described as “incoherent and upset.”

The Garda took the decision to arrest the mother. She became violent and had to be handcuffed.  He explained that the children were taken from the mother under section 12 of the Child Care Act, 1991 and the mother was later admitted to hospital.

The social worker gave evidence concerning the immediate risk posed to the children. She explained that she had received a call from a mental health care worker. The two children had called to the office of the mental health care worker as they were worried about their mother. They explained that she was unwell and they indicated that they wished to return to their previous foster carers.

The social worker described the mother as “lovely and gentle” but said that she suffered from a “lack of support from the community.” The mother had suffered from mental health issues in the past.  The social worker said that she had visited the mother the previous year and she had been “shouting and hitting the walls.” The mother also thought that there was someone “touching and pinching her private parts” when there was no one else present in the room.

The social worker said that in the recent month, the mother had become “unwell and different.” She was neither leaving her bedroom nor washing herself. She was neither cooking nor washing for the children. She explained that while mother was detained in hospital the children had no informal support as they had no family in Ireland.

The judge was satisfied that there was an immediate and serious risk to the children and granted the Emergency Care Order for a period of eight days.