A judge in a provincial city directed that urgent contact be made by the Child and Family Agency (CFA) with refuse collectors to collect rubbish bags from the home of a vulnerable teenager. She described the conditions of the child’s home as absolutely appalling, as two dogs were defecating and rubbish bags were left to pile up indoors. She listed the matter to be brought to her attention two days later for an urgent update.
The social worker told the judge that a placement had been found for the child in his local area following a meeting of the professionals dealing with him. The problem was that the boy was adamant that he wanted to remain in his own home since the recent death of his mother so that his sibling would not be on her own. Forcing him to take up a placement against his will could be counterproductive as there was a likelihood he would abscond.
The judge said that the boy had been living at home since finishing in a detention centre three months previously. She described his living conditions as appalling and “absolute squalor”, making this matter an emergency. She asked about the two dogs living at the home, defecating indoors and was told by the social worker that one dog was now gone to kennels.
The judge asked if the rubbish had been removed from the interior of the house and the social worker replied that there was a necessity for two rubbish collections, one before and one after the cleaning out of the house. The social worker said that the CFA had only got approval for the funding of one rubbish collection. When the judge asked if this matter could be accelerated, the social worker described the process required in applications for funding and said that the financial section of the CFA dealt with procurement issues. She said they had to use the same process of procurement when sourcing a place at the kennels for the dog.
The judge asked if the boy was attending school and the social worker replied that he was not but that she intended having a face-to-face meeting with him to discuss the non-attendance. The judge stressed how appalling the condition of the house was and that rubbish, which had been placed in black plastic bags, had not been removed from the interior of the house and was leaching through the bags on the floor. She described the boy as a child who “liked neatness”. His guardian ad litem, who was not present in court due to illness, had described his situation as a systemic failure of the CFA.
Judge: “The CFA has to do whatever it takes here…who has to get this done?… is there nobody in the CFA who can take this over?”
The lawyer for the CFA suggested that they could say that the court expects the rubbish to be collected before the next week’s court date. The judge said that an urgent phone-call to the refuse collectors was vital.
The judge listed the matter for two days later so that she could get an update on the situation regarding the rubbish collection. She reminded the CFA that this was a very difficult time close to Christmas for the boy, who had only recently suffered the bereavement of his mother.