Parents seek supports from HSE for child with autism in voluntary care – 2023vol1#51

A judge in the Dublin District Court made an order to make the HSE a notice party to proceedings involving a child with autism in the care of the Child and Family Agency (CFA) under a voluntary arrangement. The child’s parents brought a number of applications relating to supports they were seeking.

The barrister for the parents outlined to the court that they were bringing a number of applications before the court, primarily under sections 27, 36 and 47 of the Child Care Act.

The court was told that the child was a very much-loved child. However, he suffered from autism and behaved violently towards his parents and siblings. The barrister for the parents said that there were a number of letters before the court. The child was due to meet Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for assessment on the day the matter was heard. The barrister said that the parents had in fact thought that the meeting was to take place the previous week.

The court heard that the child had been provided with accommodation by the CFA under section 36(d) in a specialised bespoke placement. The court was asked to extend the arrangement to the following week. The barrister for the parents asked for the other reliefs to be adjourned to the following week, bar the appointment of the guardian ad litem (GAL). She said the application for a GAL to be appointed was a matter for the court, however there was no objection and no party was advocating a specific person though a name was suggested by the barrister for the parents.

On a separate procedural matter the barrister for the parents said that the HSE were named in the applications as a notice party due to the child’s disabilities and the statutory obligations which arose from them. The barrister for the parents suggested Order 39, rule 2 subsection 2 of the District Court Rules might be of use.

The solicitor for the CFA said that this was a case where the child came into care after a section 12 application and said that further child protection concerns arose in relation to the child. The CFA believed the child’s place should be at home with supports being put in place and that those supports should be provided by the HSE.

The CFA solicitor told the court they had no issue with the GAL being appointed. The solicitor said that the parents were working with the social work team very well. The court heard that the HSE had received papers and that the child had been due to meet the psychiatrist that day. In relation to the disability services, the HSE was not familiar with the child and different formal processes for assessment of need needed to take place.

The judge made an order under Order 39, exercising the court’s power to make the HSE a notice party to the proceedings, in order to be procedurally correct. He also appointed a GAL and adjourned the matter to the following month.