Four interim care orders in provincial town – 2020vol1#41

Interim care orders were granted or extended in a provincial town amid concerns about drug and alcohol abuse, and mental health issues on the part of the mother.

Children with “difficult needs”

An interim care order was extended in a provincial town in respect of four children with “difficult needs” who had come to the attention of the CFA previously, as their mother abused alcohol. There were concerns about the sexualised behaviour of one of the children. The mother was legally represented as was the father of one of the children. The GAL supported the application.

The social worker said the threshold for the interim care order continued to exist. Child B and child C had a number of meetings over the last few months with a psychologist and the psychologist provided an update about the therapeutic needs of the children.

Since the last court date there had been two meetings with CFA, the foster carers and the play therapist. The social worker said the plan was to carry out direct work with child A as she was upset after the therapy. There was “a lot of stuff coming up for her during that work.” The social worker said she spoke to the psychologist and was seeking the services of a psychotherapist who had experience with child trauma and child sexual abuse.

An education assessment was carried out in respect of child B and there were recommendations that this child engage with a child and adolescent mental health service. The social worker said child B was with her mother at the time of the assessment and there was a concern that the child had a number of inappropriate relationships and exhibited sexualised behaviour. The child said she would benefit from someone with whom she could talk.

The judge said: “I have a note that progress was to be made with [child B].”

The social worker said a referral had been made and the social work department would speak to the psychotherapist about meeting all of the parties.

The solicitor for the GAL said the GAL requested meetings twice and the GAL was concerned about the progress and wanted timelines about therapeutic care for the children. She said: “It does not appear that there is any progress about these children.”

The mother presented under the influence of alcohol and revoked consent for the children to go on holidays with the foster carers. The social worker said: “It had been a recommendation that the mother take part in a parenting capacity assessment and the psychologist would not do the assessment if the mother did not show a willingness to engage.” The mother had improved and the psychologist had availability to complete the assessment in if things continued in a positive manner.

The judge extended the interim care order for a period of 28 days.

Interim care order for baby of drug user

An interim care order was granted in a provincial town in respect of a nine-month-old baby who had been in voluntary care. The mother had a long history of drug misuse and the child had been born with mild withdrawal. Her two other children did not live with her.

The family had been involved with State services and the child had been in voluntary care to ensure cooperation between the social workers and the parents, as the mother had a number of issues. The social worker said voluntary care was not realistic and the grounds for an interim care order existed.

Before the child’s birth there were concerns as the mother missed ante natal appointments. The mother was using drugs and the baby was born with mild withdrawal and feeding issues. The mother did not visit or engage with feeding the baby. She agreed to go to a baby unit and to undergo urinalysis but she failed to do so. The parents missed the baby’s discharge meeting. Access was sporadic and the parents only saw the baby twice in the last five months.

The child was doing well in a settled placement and was meeting his milestones. He attended physiotherapy. The child’s sister was in the care of her own father and his other sister was subject to a full care order.

The judge appointed a GAL to the child and granted the interim care order.

Interim care order extended with consent where alcohol abuse involved

An interim care order was extended in respect of three children where the mother had a history of alcohol addiction. The GAL supported the application.

The children had been in voluntary care since 2017 and the CFA was looking for a full care order until the children reached the age of 18 years. The solicitor for the mother and the GAL were of the view that the application for a care order was premature as the case had only been in court a few months earlier. The GAL wanted to canvass the views of the children.

The judge agreed that the application was “too premature.”

The social worker said the threshold was met for the application. Since the last court date the mother had engaged with addiction services and her attendance was excellent. The programme was due to end in the coming months and the mother would continue to engage with the next programme. The social worker said: “It is the first time the mother has been committed to a treatment programme. I need to give the mother a chance to get stronger and let the children see that.”

The children were placed with relatives and were doing well there. The eldest child did not have access with the mother for a period of two years. Access had recently recommenced. The child was described as “an articulate young woman” who had been offered an alternative of access on a weekly basis but the child wanted access to remain on a fortnightly basis. The child was resolute over the last two years that she wanted to remain in her placement until she turned 18. The child felt their relationship would be over if the mother were to drink again. The social worker said: “I have told the mother there will be an access review and if things continue to go well, it [access] could go to weekly.”

The other two children had not voiced concerns about access but they supported the eldest child and were happy to agree with the access.

The interim care order was extended for a period of 28 days.

Interim care order for baby extended amid mental health concerns

An interim care order was extended in respect of a two-month-old baby in a provincial town. The mother was not represented and suffered from mental health issues. The GAL supported the application.

The social worker said the threshold was met.  The placement was meeting the baby’s needs and the mother was not in a position to care for the baby. The mother suffered from mental health issues following the birth of the baby and was receiving treatment. The mother had been recently discharged from hospital and efforts were being made to arrange representation for her.  The social worker said reports had been requested for psychiatric treatment for the mother and a parenting capacity assessment would take place following the completion of the psychiatrist’s report.

The interim care order was extended for a period of 28 days.