A judge in a provincial District Court extended on an interim care order on consent for two months in the case of a teenage girl.
The court heard the girl had five previous foster placements and the guardian ad litem (GAL) considered her residential placement unsuitable for her. She was refusing to attend school This was a much smaller school than her previous school where she had been bullied because of her care status.
The judge asked the Child and Family Agency (CFA) what would happen if she persisted in school refusal. The CFA solicitor said the social worker would have to engage with the educational welfare officer and explore alternatives such as home tuition.
The GAL told the court it was very disappointing that the girl had not attended a private dermatologist for her skin problem as she was concerned about her physical appearance and this might account for her lack of motivation to attend school. mental health problems also played a part, she said. Everyone needed to come together to help her.
Access was going well with her mother, and this was positive, but the GAL said it was inadvisable for the mother to bring along her new partner as the girl had not been prepared or introduced. The court heard the teenager had been in good form since making a disclosure and had gone on respite care.
The judge asked the GAL to convey her invitation to the girl to speak to her directly and let her know she was worried for her. “There is no other way to put it,” she said.
The judge extended the ICO on consent for two months and said she expected an update on a parental capacity assessment, respite placement, review of access, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), dermatology and school attendance and gave liberty to re-enter.