Interim care orders extended for two children where third child had recently gone home to mother – 2023vol2#14

In a rural District Court a mother consented to the extension of interim care orders for two children, where a third child had recently been reunited with his mother. The father of the children did not engage with the proceedings, but one child of the family resided with him.

The lawyer for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) said the girl (B) was settled in her placement where she had been since she went into care. The court heard that the teenage boy (A) was about to turn 18, he had recently been moved to a residential unit and the team were looking at his aftercare plan. The teenager had been allocated an aftercare worker and a plan was in place for his aftercare.

The court was told that another teenage boy (C) was back living with his mother since the summer. However, there had been some deterioration since he had returned to his mother. He was attending a respite service but the social worker said that there were reports of him turning up to the unit hungry, with no lunch and late for school. The social worker said they are looking for the home conditions to stabilise.

The teenage boy who was about to turn 18 might also return home to his mother. The social workers were looking to review the parental capacity assessment for the mother before the child could be reunified. There was an overall concern as to how the mother would manage with three children at home.

The mother was to engage with drug testing and had had a hair follicle test which had a positive result due to environmental cannabis. This might have been caused by the fact that child C had been smoking cannabis, the social worker said.

At a recent access visit between the mother and child B there were good reports that they had enjoyed quality recreational time together.

On cross examination the social worker said the reason the mother gave for the positive environmental drug test was that it related to vaping which was being addressed by the mother.

The court heard that the eldest teenager, A, spent a few nights a week at home but recently the Gardaí had made a welfare check as neither the mother nor the teenager was answering their phones. If the teenager missed his curfew or failed to advise the unit as to his whereabouts the Gardaí get involved, the court was told.

The social worker said the team would review the mother’s finances and the food vouchers that she receives as there were concerns as to the mother’s ability to manage the house and finances. There was a recommendation that the mother link in with a resource centre locally where she also received food vouchers.