Interim Care Order for girl emotionally abused by grandmother – 2013vol4#6

An Interim Care Order was granted by the District Court in a provincial city for three months where a young girl’s grandmother was alleged to have emotionally abused her. The child’s mother consented to the application. The parents were unmarried and the father was not a party to the proceedings as he was not the legal guardian of the child.

The court heard that the relationship between the child and her mother was seriously impaired by the behaviour of her two grandmothers and the family situation was very factitious. The court heard that the child had very serious behavioural difficulties and was refusing to go to school. A social worker gave evidence that the girl had caused damage to her mother’s house and had assaulted her mother’s partner. The Gardaí had been called to the house on a number of occasions. Another incident was outlined to the court where the girl opened the door of a moving car while travelling home from school.

A social worker said that the girl’s grandmother had told her stories concerning alleged violent behaviour of her mother’s partner. The girl had apparently said that although she herself had not previously had any concerns about her mother’s partner, since she had heard the allegations so many times, she now believed them to be true. The court heard that the girl herself had made allegations against her mother’s partner.

A social worker told the court that the girl’s relationship with her mother had dis-improved significantly. They had previously enjoyed a good relationship but were now constantly having arguments, the court heard.

The court was told that neither the girl’s mother nor maternal grandmother were adequately protecting her from the emotional abuse meted out by her paternal grandmother. The social worker, in applying for a three month Interim Care Order, told the court that the girl needed a moment to think as she was very confused. The plan was to return the girl to the care of her mother after the three months had elapsed.

The social worker said that the plan was to attempt to rebuild the relationships between the girl and her parents over the course of the three months. Parenting strategy and family therapy work would also be completed with both parents, the social worker said. The girl herself would attend mental health services and would complete work around anger management issues. Access with the parents was also to be built up.

In making the care order for three months, the judge noted that the girl’s grandmother had conducted herself in an extremely bad manner. The judge also made an order in respect of the programmes outlined by the HSE.