Order extended for baby of mother who had been in care – 2019vol2#49

An interim care order was extended in Dublin District Court in respect of a baby whose mother had serious health problems and had been in care. Neither parent attended court since the first day of the interim care order hearing. The mother suffered from a history of drug misuse and had significant care needs herself. The GAL supported the application.

The team leader said there had been no engagement with the parents and neither parent had attended access. The social work department was committed to the parents having access and wanted to create memories for the child into her adulthood. The social workers called five days a week at the mother’s home to rouse her. The team leader got no response from the mother and all calls and texts went unanswered.

The mother suffered from a serious degenerative disease and struggled to get out of bed. She did not attend her neurologist and said she did not want to know about her disease progression. The mother had previously been in the care of the CFA and an aftercare plan had been provided for a care package to be delivered to her every day. The mother failed to engage with the care package and her after-care worker.

There was an inspection of the premises where she lived by the Gardaí and the aftercare service. There was a meeting to discuss additional supports for the mother. The social worker said: “It is difficult as there are concerns about drug use and her relationship with the father.” Another social worker bumped into the mother on the street and said she looked well but the mother still failed to engage.

The CFA had arranged a parenting capacity assessment. The psychologist agreed a community-based assessment and raised concerns as to whether the parents would engage. Two dates had been arranged for the assessment and every effort would be made to get the parents to the appointments. The psychologist would proceed if the parents attended.

The baby was forming appropriate attachments in her foster placement and meeting her milestones. She was “making great progress and was very settled. The foster carers were hands on with the daily care of the baby and their six-year-old child was very fond of her. The baby was crawling and trying to put weight on her legs. She was very curious and the foster carers were very responsive to her. The foster carers spoke positively about her parents.

The paternal grandmother visited the baby and sent photos to the parents. The social worker said: “It is unfortunate that there have not been visits [with the parents]. It will be important for the child to have memories of the parents and of the mother.”

The judge said the circumstances arose to allow the interim care order exist. The interim care order was extended for 28 days.