Interim care orders extended for two children where sexual abuse alleged – 2023vol2#11

The Dublin District Court extended interim care orders for two children of primary school age, where the older boy had made significant allegations of sexual abuse and an explicit video clip had been found on his phone.

The solicitor for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) said the application was to extend existing interim care orders for two children of primary school age. The mother lived abroad and was not involved in the proceedings. The father was unknown. There was a significant family history of intergenerational problems and the family had been known to the CFA for decades.

The solicitor for the maternal grandmother said her client was a legal guardian of both children. The children had been in her care most of their lives until she suffered a serious medical issue which rendered her incapable of caring for them. She was currently residing in a nursing home where it was expected she would remain. The children went to live with their maternal aunt after this, but the placement ultimately broke down and they were taken into care.

Child A was initially placed in an unregulated residential placement, but had subsequently moved to a regulated placement where he remained. The court was told he was “thriving” in this placement. Child B had been placed with foster carers.

A meeting had taken place with the grandmother the previous day and her solicitor said that despite her medical condition she was able to understand and communicate effectively. She was consenting to the application for the extension in relation to A only. She was happy with his residential placement. However, she was not consenting to the extension for B and was unhappy with her current foster carers. The family felt they could care for B, but not A.

The solicitor for the guardian ad litem (GAL) said the GAL was consenting to both extensions. The solicitor described A’s reception into care as “probably one of the most extreme I have ever seen.” He said a very disturbing and explicit video clip had been found on A’s phone which prompted an immediate investigation by An Garda Síochána. Following this, A made disclosures of sexual abuse perpetrated by members of his extended family. A specialist interview had taken place the previous day and an update was expected. The matter was ongoing but was being taken very seriously.

B was in a short-term foster placement which would only hold her over the remainder of the summer. No further placement had been identified after this, which was an issue. However, the GAL was not sure if a long-term foster placement would be appropriate for B and a residential placement might need to be considered.

Having heard the evidence, the judge said that while she noted the grandmother’s objection to B’s foster placement and sympathised with her, she was satisfied that the threshold continued to exist in respect of both children. She extended the interim care orders for 28 days.