One-year care order granted for child who needed to travel abroad for life-saving medical treatment – 2024vol1#34

The District Court granted a care order in respect of a child who had significant medical needs. The child had been in hospital since birth and needed to travel abroad for life-saving treatment. Prior to the care order being granted the court had granted an interim care order which was consented to by the parents in circumstances where they were unable to travel abroad with their child. They had five other children.

The District Court made a short care order. The court was told that there were no child protection issues, however the parents were unable to travel abroad with the child for the medical treatment, therefore the child must be in the care of the State in order to be put on the waiting list for the life-saving treatment. This had not yet occurred as the CFA needed to identify an appropriate person to travel with the child at the required time when it arises.

The mother’s solicitor said that the mother was not abandoning her child, but she simply did not have the ability to travel with the child. He said that in placing the child in the care of the State the mother was making a sacrifice and acting in the best interest of the child.

The solicitor for the Child and Family Agency (CFA) said that there was no foster placement identified for the child yet. She said that a specialised home-care service worker visited the child regularly and had established a strong attachment with the child. She said that it was hoped that the home-care worker might be able to travel with the child and asked the court to make a short care order of six months.

The solicitor for the guardian ad litem (GAL) told the court that the GAL supported the application and requested that the matter be reviewed within one month.

The judge noted that the case was unusual and granted the short care order.

On the next date the court was updated. The solicitor for the CFA said that the child was having outdoor outings in the presence of a social care leader. She said that arrangements were being put in place so that the outings could happen more frequently, and that the required medical equipment would be available.

The judge asked whether the child’s name had been added to the waiting list for the medical treatment abroad and he was advised it had not. The solicitor for the CFA explained that they had not yet identified an appropriate person who could travel with the child. The CFA’s solicitor said that she would update the parent’s solicitors within one week. The matter would appear periodically before the court for directions.

When this case came back before the court it was listed for review. In the meantime, a foster family had been found for the child, and they were undergoing specific training in order to be able to care for the child.

The CFA solicitor told the court that the CFA wanted to adjourn the review for a month. She said that this was a good news story. The child in question, one of six siblings, had significant medical needs and needed an organ transplant. The child needed 24/7 attention and needed someone to be in a position to move quickly should an organ become available. It was on that basis that the parents agreed to a care order for one year to allow the CFA to step in.

The CFA solicitor said the child was peg-fed and that a support team was now in place who were very attuned to the child’s care need, a foster family had been identified near an airport and they were being trained to take care of the child.

The case was adjourned to allow a comprehensive update to be provided in a month’s time.