An interim care order was granted ex parte [without the presence of the respondent parents] for a baby who was found in a wheelie bin.
The court first considered whether it could hear the application on an ex parte basis. The solicitor for the HSE told the court the baby was currently in hospital undergoing tests. A scan was urgently required. The mother had been involuntarily detained in a psychiatric facility and there was a letter from her consultant psychiatrist. The HSE had been unable to contact the father though he had reported the incident.
The social worker said HSE had known the family since 2005. They had a case conference concerning the baby in July and had been supporting and monitoring the family. There were a few domestic issues with the father, but no concerns about the baby.
They had asked the father to be at home following the call, but when they called he was not there. They had an interpreter ring him and tell him to come to court. The interpreter said he was quite abusive on the phone.
The judge said the question was whether to allow the application to be made on an ex parte basis, whether it was in the interests of justice and in the child’s interests. The social worker said the mother was in hospital and unable to give her consent. The father had a severe alcohol problem. “I have no sense he was involved in minding the baby.” There was an aunt who had identified herself as willing to care for the baby.
The baby needed an MRI scan, but the hospital would not carry it out without permission, the social worker said. An emergency care order was not appropriate, as the baby was in a safe place at the moment.
The judge said he was satisfied the application could be made on an ex parte basis.
The social worker said that the child was in hospital and she did not think the father would be able to give his consent for medical treatment. “If he was to bring her home I don’t think he would be able to care for her. He had an alcohol problem and disappears for days. The mother is in hospital on an open-ended basis.”
She said the mother had been well and had been visited by a psychiatric social worker. Then the social work department got a report from the gardai that the father had rung up. He said he woke up and found the mother, but could not find the baby. He found the baby in a wheelie bin.
The mother said the baby had gone to a better place. “She put the baby in grave danger,” the social worker said. She agreed when the judge asked if there was reasonable cause to believe the mother assaulted, ill-treated or neglected the child. The social worker said an aunt was prepared to take the child when she was out of hospital, so she could go into relative foster care.
The judge granted an interim care order and made a direction that an MRI scan be carried out on the baby.