Girl in special care made a Ward of Court to allow transfer to UK – 2018vol2#3

The CFA sought an adjournment and liberty to apply to make a young person in special care a Ward of Court in order to facilitate the transfer to a special placement in UK for a minimum of six months.

Counsel for the CFA told the court that the young person, who required a significant level of therapeutic input, had been in special care for a considerable amount of time. Professionals had always been of the opinion that she did not meet the criteria to be diagnosed with a psychiatric condition. The young person, who was being kept safe, continued to find very difficult to manage her own emotions.

The court heard that the CFA had found an appropriate placement in the UK but new legislation regulating special care did not make provision for transferring a young person to the UK for six months, which was the minimum time required to carry out the necessary in-depth assessments.

The provisions of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011, which provides for a legal framework for Special Care, was commenced in January 2018. Special care orders are now applied for under Part IVA of the 1991 Act as amended. Prior to the commencement of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011, special care proceedings in the High Court were dealt with under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.

Counsel for the CFA said that the most appropriate way to deal with the situation was to make the young person a Ward of Court and then to direct her transfer to the UK. Looking for liberty to apply, counsel told the court that there was no placement in this jurisdiction with the necessary therapeutic treatment and that an application could hopefully be made the following week. She said that the young person had made it very clear that she was extremely frustrated at the lack of progres and that she would like to go. Counsel for the CFA said that there would be an update the following week regarding whether the application had been made.

Counsel for the GAL told the court that it had been a difficult six weeks and that the young person was ready to move at that stage. He said that the GAL was one hundred per cent behind the proposed transfer but that it would require the management and communication sharing of information between the UK and Ireland.

Counsel for the mother said that the mother also supported the transfer, which should take place as soon as possible to avoid the negative implications of uncertainty.

The judge asked how the young person was doing educationally and whether she would be happy to continue. Counsel for the GAL replied that education would be a component of the assessment to take place in the UK. The judge remarked that education would be quite an incentive.

Given the circumstances, the judge adjourned the case for two weeks to allow a Ward of Court application.  “If any matter arises you can come to court” added the judge.

When the case returned to the list two weeks later, the court heard that the child had been made a Ward of Court. Accordingly, the case was removed from the minors list.