A District Court in a county town granted an interim care order for four young children where the Child and Family Agency said there were concerns about severe neglect. This was the first occasion the matter was before the court and the case was among a large number of child care cases heard that day. The father and mother were both present and represented by legal aid boards and contested the application. The parents said that they would consent to a supervision order, but not to an interim care order.
The Court heard that the family were being monitored informally by the social work department for the past 18 months and the social worker said that if the CFA thought “the situation was in any way tolerable, then we would delay until after Christmas”.
The social worker gave evidence of severe neglect in respect of all four children which was not as a result of substance misuse by the parents, but rather their cognitive ability and backgrounds.
A psychologist conducted parenting capacity assessments and cognitive assessments of both parents in relation to their parenting. He found that the mother could parent, but she required a lot of support. The psychologist was of the opinion that the father had better cognitive abilities than the mother and while he understood what was required, he did not seem to be motivated to make those changes.
The judge said that there was a huge amount of work to be done with the parents and found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the safety, health and welfare of the children has been neglected. The judge acknowledged that the parents loved their children, however, he said that both parents were overwhelmed and were not able and not motivated to engage with the interventions and supports provided.
The judge made a short interim care order and directed the Child and Family Agency to lay out an access plan over Christmas, which could be dealt with at the next court date before Christmas.
In another case a foster parent made an application for an enhanced rights order in respect of a young child who has significant medical needs.
The court was informed that the child suffers from chronic medical and welfare needs, including seizures and a heart condition. The court was satisfied that his needs were being met by his foster parents.
The judge made the order and further directed that the parents be informed of any treatment outside of general practitioner or ordinary treatment. The judge granted the costs of the application to the foster parent.
The judge extended a supervision order for six months in respect of a young baby. The mother was present and consented to the order. She was not represented. The father was not present.
Evidence was given that there were serious concerns regarding the father’s criminality and deviant past. The mother underwent a parenting capacity assessment, which she completed successfully. The reason for the extension of the supervision order was because there had been reports of the father visiting the family home. The mother contested these allegations and said it was a different man.
The Child and Family Agency sought the order on the condition that the mother would not have any contact with the father. The judge granted the order with that condition.