GAL reappointed for child in care for 10 years; father unaware of parentage until care order made – 2023vol2#36

A judge hearing cases in a rural town reappointed a guardian ad litem to hear the voice of the child following applications from the father of the child. The man had only become aware he was the father of the child after a full care order had been made. The child, of primary school age, had been in care for ten years.

The father enjoyed access with the child every other month. The father had instructed solicitors to make an application for guardianship and to discharge the full care order. The father’s solicitor said the father had become aware there was a plan for the child to be adopted. The solicitor said that she had spoken with the mother of the child, who had no objections to either of the father’s applications. The solicitor for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) said while he had been informed of these applications, he had not prepared a response.

The solicitor said that it would be appropriate for the court to re-appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to hear the voice of the child and prepare an independent report. It would be necessary for the court to have such a report before it made any decision. The solicitor for the CFA agreed. The judge asked the CFA solicitor if there were any applications for adoption with regards to this child. The CFA solicitor responded that to the best of his knowledge there were no such applications.

The judge said she would appoint a GAL and adjourn both applications for one month. The judge advised the CFA solicitor that as an application for guardianship had been made, no application for adoption could be made and any application for adoption that may have been made must be put on hold until the applications of the father had been determined.