Interim care order extended where concerns about mother’s mental health and alcohol abuse – 2019vol1#31

An interim care order was extended in respect of two children, child A and child B, where the Child and Family Agency was concerned about the mother’s mental health and abuse of alcohol. The mother was represented but not engaging. The GAL supported the application.

The social worker said that since the last court date, a home visit had been carried out and an access had been attended by the mother and maternal grandmother. The mother received a “nice warm welcome from the children and they hugged her.” At the end of access neither child reacted when the mother left. There had been no access since and the social worker was due to conduct a home visit tomorrow.

The social worker said there were concerns about the mother’s mental health and her misuse of alcohol. She said child A needed help to settle into his foster placement and a psychological assessment to be carried out. At the child in care review the school advised that its psychologist could carry out the assessment.

The social worker said two letters were written to the father of child A asking him to make contact but he had failed to do so. She said: “we are unsure of the father of the child B.”

The GAL recommended that the mother engage in regular urine analysis. The GAL noted that the mother presented in an unusual manner and sought to have her undergo a psychological assessment. She said child B was only an infant and a full paediatric review was needed.

The judge said as there was no consent from the mother, the interim care order would be extended for a period of 28 days.

Other cases

Another interim care order was extended in respect of two other children. The mother, who was from an African country, was represented and consented. The GAL supported the application.

The social worker said there had been weekly contact with the mother. There was an arrangement in place with regards to access.  The mother had access with the child since the last date and there were no concerns.

A psychologist recommended psychotherapy for the mother. The mother had commenced the therapy and attended all appointments. The solicitor for the CFA said an attachment assessment was due to take place and a letter of instruction needed to be agreed. There had been difficulty reaching an agreement about the terms of reference and the contents of that letter.

The mother had moved out of the home so that the younger child could return to the father, with whom the child was now living.

The solicitor for the mother asked: “What about access being increased?”

The social worker replied: “[Child A] is anxious. Prior to access, she would have a sore tummy and ask to turn back.  There will be no increase in access until the attachment report is done. She [Child A] is fearful of her mother and will not see her mother in the absence of the social worker.”

The judge extended the interim care order for a period of 28 days.

During the extension of another interim care order it emerged, following DNA testing, that the supposed father was not the biological father of the child. A paternity test had been carried out as the child had been asking questions about her paternity. The child believed that the father was her biological father and it was felt she [the child] should have been given correct information. It had been agreed to meet the child and the mother regarding the results of the paternity test.

The social worker said the relationship between the child and the supposed father was to be managed as he was important in the child’s life. The relationship would be determined on how the child took the information herself and it may take time for the information to be taken. The social worker said the threshold for the application was met.

The interim care order was extended for a period of three months.