Interim care order extended as physical abuse revealed – 2023vol1#20

A judge in a provincial town extended an interim care order for four siblings, where the children had just started to disclose the physical abuse they had suffered.

The matter concerned four siblings, two boys who were teenagers and two girls of primary school age. The mother was not in court and there was no legal representation on her behalf. The father was not in court, but he did have legal representation. However, the solicitor said she had received no contact from the father and had no instructions. Evidence was given by the social worker for the Child and Family Agency (CFA).

The social worker said the children were doing well in their placements. One of the boys had been cautioned by An Gardai Siochana and a juvenile liaison officer (JLO) had been appointed to him. She said it had been agreed between the boy, his foster carer, the social worker and the JLO that the boy would be prevented from travelling to the area where he mixed with others that had had a bad influence on him. This restriction on his travel had improved the boy’s behaviour and he had not been in any trouble in the area where he lived with his foster carer.

The younger children, the girls, had started to reveal details of the abuse they had endured. They required significant support as this had included scalding. All four children had been interviewed by An Gardai Siochana and the social worker was awaiting this report. There was to be a psychiatric and/or psychological assessment of all four children to ascertain what supports and/or therapies each child would need. The social worker said that the children had had an adverse childhood.

The social worker said there had been no contact with the mother of the children. She had contacted the father who was in hospital, he had consented to the extension of the order. The children had access with an aunt to whom they were all close. The aunt and the foster carers had a warm and positive relationship.

The guardian ad litem (GAL) said he supported the application, but the psychological assessments were urgent so that the children’s needs could be addressed.

The judge extended the interim care orders for 28 days and urged the social worker to ensure all assessments were expedited.