Orders continued by High Court for child with severe ASD as wardship considered – 2023vol2#51

Orders concerning the placement of a non-Irish national child with severe Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and complex needs were made by the High Court, while a medical visitor was appointed to assess him. The court had appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL) and joined the HSE as a notice party.

The court heard the teenager continued to do well in the residential unit where he lived, where his needs were being met to a high standard. He had had no contact with his mother for a long time, neither of his parents was traceable, he was not attending school and did not wish to and this matter needed to be addressed.

The issue of an onward placement when he turned 18 was raised. The previous plan was that he remain in the existing placement, a residential placement for children, until he turned 18 and then he would be transferred to an adult placement run by the same people. However, there was a proposal from the HSE that he move to a different placement and the GAL had concerns as the boy did not deal well with abrupt changes.

The other issue was in respect of his application for a passport. It was in his interests that he have a passport, but there was difficulty in obtaining information on his parents, who were not contactable. The High Court President said that the passport office needed to tell them what form of order would work to ensure the application could be processed.

The judge said she was satisfied the teenager was doing well, though he was not going to school and there was some uncertainty about his onward placement. She was satisfied to continue the orders while awaiting the report from the medical visitor.

When the matter returned for review the medical visitor had still not assessed the teeanger, but the court heard that both the CFA and the HSE considered that a different onward placement to that originally planned was appropriate. There was additional physical space there.

The CFA lawyer said that the teenager was doing extremely well, all the reports were positive, he was now attending school for a short time each day. The agency had been unable to obtain a passport for him as it had been unable to obtain information as to whether his mother had the residence requirement prior to his birth. The agency was therefore considering a different route based on his own residence in the State, based on his naturalisation. No orders on that were required from the court just yet.

An application had been made for a Disability Allowance for him and it was hope it would be processed shortly. There was a view, supported by the medical evidence, that he would not be able to manage his finances, would not be able to balance or weight up information or assess risks. The application for transfer orders in the future would include restricting his access to finances and permitting a named person to access and expend his finances on his behalf.

The High Court President said that in the light of youth’s complex presentation it would be appropriate to make orders to protect his funds. She fixed a date for review that might be the date for the order transferring his residence.