Interim care order extended as reunification planned – 2021vol2#28

An interim care order was extended in respect of three children in a provincial town. The children had been received into care in 2018 following disclosures of physical and emotional abuse. The father did not consent to the application as he was seeking reunification immediately.

The children had been placed with their maternal grandparents. The social worker had spoken with the children and one child had said he wanted to go home. There had been efforts to engage with the father concerning reunification. There had been concerns recently as one of the children had stopped attending access. He had previously been with the father and the father had stopped him from returning to his foster placement and had cancelled the taxi to take him home.

The social workers met with the father and his mother and there was another meeting planned to look at a reunification plan. It was agreed the father could bring a support person with him to the meeting. There was a plan to reunify the children with the father in two to three months and the plan would be reviewed to make sure progress was being made. Overnight access was to be increased from three to four nights in accordance with the children’s wishes.

The solicitor for the GAL said the children should be involved with the access arrangements and should stay in touch with their paternal family. Funding had been secured for one of the children to engage with a psychological service. The social worker had contacted the psychologist and she was on the leave but they could start work with her as soon as she was back. The children felt that they could not speak openly about issues at home.

The father said: “I want to be able to parent my children and I feel robbed.” He said he wanted to go forward and make decisions about his family without interference.

The judge said: “Because of the process in place, that cannot happen overnight. There has been great progress made. Over a period of weeks, the children will be spending more time with you until they go home permanently. Working with the process is better than working against it.”

The interim care order was extended for a period of one month.