Interim care orders for five children where father under investigation – 2019vol1#35

An interim care order was extended in respect of five children of Muslim parents where the father was under investigation following allegations made against him. The guardian ad litem supported the application.

The social worker told the court many meetings had been proposed to meet with the father regarding care planning in order to identify supports and explore his parental capacity but the meetings had not proceeded. The social worker said an attachment assessment was completed and the report had been distributed. There would be a meeting to explain the contents of the report to the father and he could bring a support person with him.

An issue had arisen with the placement in that the foster carers wanted to take the children to Northern Ireland for day trips during the summer. One of the children was in a different placement and was travelling abroad with her foster carers on holiday. The social workers were to be informed of the travel plans so that they could communicate the plans back to the father. The father had no difficulty with the children travelling to Northern Ireland but he was concerned that the trips would impact on their religious education. The father arranged religious classes for the children and he did not want the trips to interfere with the classes.

The judge said: “The father has a different religion and he wishes the children to have knowledge of the religion. The mother is [of] the same [religion]. I want everything organised so that the children are brought up in the religion of the parents.”

The solicitor for the CFA said the CFA was making every effort to make sure the cultural heritage of the children was supported.

The CFA carried out a section 3 assessment and a Garda investigation was underway regarding allegations made against the father. The social worker said there had been a delay progressing the investigation as the Gardaí cancelled a scheduled meeting. There was no clear date as to when the transcripts would be organised.

The GAL said: “I cannot interview the father about the allegations and it is impacting on one of the children. I would like a Garda to attend on the next date for an update and there needs some clarification.”

One of the children had presented at the father’s house and was struggling with the situation. The father believed that members of the mother’s family were putting pressure on the child as they had asked the child to meet with them without bringing her phone. The GAL said the credibility assessment needed to look at the involvement of the [mother’s] family. The social workers spoke to the mother and all contact between the child and the mother’s family was to be supervised.

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

When the interim care order returned to court for renewal the court heard the mother was in hospital recovering from a stroke and had been appointed a solicitor. The speech and language therapist said it was not in her best interests to inform her of the proceedings at this time. There was consent from the father. The GAL supported the application.

The social worker said a section 3 investigation by the CFA was ongoing and a Garda investigation was pending. The section 3 investigation did not form part of the proceedings.

A meeting had held with the investigating Garda and the interviews by the specialist interviewers with the children were being transcribed. The statements of the children had been received. The social worker said: “Upon receipt of the interview, we can [carry out] the next steps. The Gardaí have consented for therapy for [child A] and for her only.” The parenting capacity assessment was on hold until the investigations were complete.

One of the younger children was due to start school in September. The father attended the open day with him and met the principal. The child was excited about school.

The migrant support services helped the father engage with the child protection concerns and meetings with the CFA. They assisted the CFA to understand the cultural differences and traditions of the family. The CFA was committed to facilitating the religious education of the children and there was a plan for the children to attend cultural and religious lessons during the summer.

A psychological intervention was due to commence for one of the children, the 10-year-old child, around self-esteem. The social worker said: “we will progress that with the consent of the father.”

Access was positive and proceeded in a new environment suited to the children. They enjoyed access and interacted with their father and visited their mother in a rehabilitation centre. The social workers did not want to cause further distress to the mother and allowed her enjoy her time with the children.

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

Interim care order where mother suffers educational difficulties, has GAL

In another case an interim care order was extended in respect of one child where the mother suffered from educational difficulties and a GAL had been appointed to her. The father was in a residential unit. The GAL for the child was supporting the application for the interim care order.

The solicitor for the father said: “The father had just one access visit despite being promised he could have two [visits]. Is there a plan [for access]?”

The social worker said the father had access. There was a monthly access [plan] going forward and it would be reviewed.

The father wanted access on the date of the child’s birthday as he had access with the child on her last birthday. The mother had organised a party for the child. Access for the father was arranged for the day before the party as it would only be the second access and the social worker wanted to make sure the access was going well. She said: “It [the birthday] would be a long day for the child and introducing a new person would be stressful for her.”

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