Full care order for child leaving secure care – 2020vol2#7

A full care order until she reaches the age of 18 was granted for a child who was in secure care. The court discharged the child’s aunt as a guardian and directed that the child’s wishes be obtained regarding access and the possibility of appointing her father as a guardian. The court heard that the child would be leaving secure care and moving to residential care.

The court heard that her mother, who was now deceased, had had addiction issues, and that her father was currently being treated for similar issues. She had been placed in voluntary care with an aunt, however this relationship had broken down. Following this, and due to her challenging behaviour, she was placed in secure care. The court heard that she was doing well in secure care and that her aunt supported the application for a care order. The court heard that she did not want her aunt involved in making decisions regarding her welfare.

Counsel for the father told the court that he had no instructions on whether or not his client was consenting to the order being made but said that the father was aware of the application. He asked the social worker if the CFA would support the father’s application for guardianship if he decided to make an application at a later date. The social worker confirmed that they would support the father in making such an application.

The social worker told the court that the child had suffered trauma, particularly around the death of her mother. She said she was vulnerable and suffers from low mood, but was also warm, bubbly and very popular with the staff and other children. The social worker said that she was a bright child and eager to engage in activities in secure care.

Asked about the key supports being explored for the child once she leaves secure care, the social worker stated that referrals for counselling and mainstream supports were being examined, particularly supports to help her with her attachment and sensory issues. The social worker told the court that the child struggles with one-to-one meetings.

Questioned about a gap between leaving secure care and obtaining necessary supports, and about finding a school, the social worker said: “We will see what is available and the timeline. We have looked at many support services so she has support during her transition.”

She said that the child had a lot of therapeutic supports when she was younger. She also told the court that there were two school referrals and she was hopeful that she would get a placement before her transition from secure care to residential care.

She added that the child’s father was very supportive of her and encouraged her to complete her education, the girl had a very good relationship with her father and younger brother and that these relationships were very important to her.

Granting the care order, the court directed that the wishes of the child be obtained regarding access with her father and whether she would like her father to become a guardian.