Interim care orders extended amid concerns about child’s safety in care – 2021vol1#50

An interim care order was extended in a provincial town in respect of six children of one woman and two men. Father X, the father of the three eldest children, identified as child A, child B and child C, consented to the application, as did the mother. Father Y, the father of the three younger children, identified as child D, child E and child F, was not in attendance and neither consented nor objected to the application. Father X was assisted by an advocate. Access had been suspended for father Y due to his behaviour towards the social workers.

Child E had had an accident and fallen at his foster placement. He sustained facial injuries and was seen by the GP as a precautionary measure. The accident occurred at the weekend and the parents had access with the children the following Monday. The mother was advising the boys to come to access and she got a shock when she saw E’s injuries.

The solicitor for the mother said: “She was surprised at [child E] and her reaction was a natural reaction given she was not told enough [about child E’s injuries].”

The social worker said: “Yes, his face was cut and she was upset. The timing was unfortunate and she [the mother] was not advised in advance.”

The father had concerns about the safety of the boys in the foster placement and wanted them to be removed. The father made a complaint to the Gardaí about the foster carers.

The social worker contacted the Gardaí and visited the boys when the Gardaí received the complaint. The social worker explained how E sustained the injuries and there was no further follow-up with the Gardaí. The social worker said: “I did have concerns about the Gardaí visiting the boys and the effects on them.”

The mother raised concerns about D at access. The boys were playing with D at access but the girl did not want the mother to play the game. The mother was concerned as to why D did not want to play with her. The social worker said the access was discussed and they tried to establish why D not want to play with the mother.

The social worker said the mother continued her positive engagement with the CFA. The father X was now communicating with the social work team leader after he had left a number of threatening messages for the social worker. The social worker was liaising with the father’s advocate following the threatening messages. She was discussing the children and updates. It was a difficult situation for the advocate to pass on the messages to the father. The father continued to attend MOVE and addiction services. D was doing well in foster care and her speech was improving.

Child F was undergoing an assessment with a consultant neuropsychologist. The consultant neuropsychologist told the social worker he did not have enough information and wrote to the social worker seeking more information. E was doing well in foster care and the social workers were trying to organise a playschool placement for him. The mother initially consented but withdrew her consent to the playschool placement.

The father wished to undergo residential treatment to help him address his difficulties and the social worker said she had advised him to talk to his GP. The father had been engaging with a number of services. He had attended 13 out of 16 sessions with a domestic violence support service. The father wanted to attend a mental health support service. He changed his GP and was having difficulties accessing mental health supports. The father was on a waiting list for counselling and was discharged from addiction services due to a lack of contact.

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

Interim care order extended where parents’ whereabouts unknown

Another interim care order was extended in respect of one child in the same court. The parents were from a European country and their whereabouts were unknown. The child made allegations of mistreatment against his aunt.

The social worker said the child was doing well and was settled in his foster placement. The child had been in multiple foster placements in Ireland and in his country of origin. The social workers were trying to ascertain the parents’ whereabouts. It was believed the parents were in their country of origin. The mother suffered from mental health issues and was believed to be in a mental health treatment facility. The father was in prison. The child’s aunt had given documents to the social workers and they had to be translated and verified.

Another interim care order

A further interim care order was extended in respect of two children. The parents were from another European country and consented to the application. There were allegations of drug misuse against the father.

The CFA was seeking an assessment and a parenting capacity assessment. The mother was concerned as the assessments had not yet commenced. The social worker said the date of the assessment was not known date and a psychologist had not yet been identified.  Funding was not approved for the parenting capacity assessment and the funding application was being processed.

The solicitor for the father said allegations of drug misuse had been made against the father and he was willing to engage in any test. The solicitor for the father asked if the CFA would provide funding for drug screening. The social worker was not sure but said she would have to look into it. The father was afraid the children, who had been in care for two months, would languish in care while funding was delayed. The social worker said they were awaiting information from the Gardaí regarding the drug allegations.

The solicitor for the father asked if the information from the Gardaí was negative, would the CFA continue to pursue drug testing. The social worker said the CFA was looking for drug testing from the Gardaí.

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