Interim care extended for two young children, access reduced – 2021vol1#43

The District Court extended an interim care order for two young children, reduced access and directed that the older child, of primary school age, receive dental treatment.

The mother was legally represented but the solicitor had not received updated instructions. The father was also legally represented but his solicitor also had no updated instructions.

The social worker told the court the children were thriving in their placement. She said the grounds for the interim care order were still present. She said that although the parents had access twice weekly, the history of access was not regular and was sporadic, the parents often did not attend which caused distress to the children. The children were often distressed after access and if they were expecting access and it did not happen they became upset and were dysregulated. She said that the pre-school child, B, suffered from faecal incontinence after access.

She said: “Nobody wants to reduce access, but the children are upset if access does not happen and that happens regularly, and I think quality is better than quantity.”

The social worker said she would like access to be reduced to once per week and hoped this will help facilitate more quality access time.

She also said that A required significant dental treatment and despite the current situation with Covid 19 a hospital had agreed and facilitated times for this treatment. The child was booked for this treatment in very early spring. The social worker told the court she was worried the parents might not attend the hospital to consent to this treatment; if this was so the treatment would have to be cancelled and rebooked. She said it would also be detrimental to A who would have been prepared for it.

The solicitor for the mother and father requested that the social worker send a taxi for the parents to attend at the hospital on the day of A‘s treatment and the social worker confirmed she would do this.

The court was informed the GAL supported all three applications.

The judge stated that having heard the evidence he would extend the interim care order as the grounds for it still existed. Given the evidence from the social worker he would grant the section 37 application to reduce access to once per week. He said he would also grant an order to dispense with the need for the parents’ consent for the planned dental treatment, as it was imperative the child received the treatment she needed. He confirmed that the social worker was to send a taxi for the parents to attend at the hospital on the day of the treatment but if they did not attend the treatment must go ahead.