Full care order until 18 for teenager facing sentencing for criminal charges – 2022vol1#26

A judge in a rural town made a full care order until the age of 18 for a teenage boy who was facing sentencing arising out of criminal charges. The CFA social worker told the court the teenager was known to the juvenile justice system. He was due back before the criminal court for sentencing within the next month and was still subject to stringent bail conditions. He had pleaded guilty to the charges against him. He had not engaged with the probation services.

At present the teenager was living with his father and although not ideal it was safe and things were going well. He spent most of his days sleeping. The social worker informed the court that a specialist bespoke residential unit had been identified with staff that could meet the teenager’s needs. A property had been identified and it was just waiting the approval of Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

The teenager was still not engaging with education but the CFA hoped once he moved to this bespoke unit he would benefit from routine and structure that would help him reintegrate with education. The aftercare plans involved ascertaining potential vocational training programmes.

The guardian ad litem (GAL) informed the court the teenager would not engage with her on any level. She said her relationship with the teenager collapsed because she was not able to obtain his release from secure care. She offered to step down to allow the court to appoint a new GAL, this was refused by the court.

She said the teenager had witnessed much tragedy in life that he could and should have been protected from. The GAL said despite the fact that he was not engaging with her at present he was endearing and she could not help but like him. For instance, he had assured her that he could get her any handbag she wanted. She said what he most wanted was a family.

She hoped that the new bespoke unit would give him structure and routine and she believed that if he could get on the right path he would make it. She hoped he would become eligible for some form of apprenticeship, and this might be all it would take to secure his future. The GAL said the order was proportionate and necessary given the needs of the teenager and it was in his best interests.

The judge said she had afforded the opportunity for the teenager to speak with her in chambers, but he had declined. The judge was satisfied the threshold was met and that the parents have been correctly served were aware of today’s hearing and have consented to the application made. She made a section 18 full care order until the teenager was 18 years of age. She directed the GAL to stay in place.