Pre-Christmas applications in District Court list – 2015vol1#30

An application for access on Christmas Day by the mother of children in care was one of a number of applications in a District Court list in a provincial city the week before Christmas.

The judge said, in relation to the access application, that where children are in care at Christmas it is a difficult position and people can get more upset than any other day of the year. He went on to say that he rarely makes orders regarding access on Christmas Day as people “generally get too upset”. The social worker in that case said that the mother was spending Christmas by herself. One of the children had said that she wished to have Christmas with her mother, father and foster parents.

The father’s solicitor said that he believed that the children would benefit greatly from having overnight access with their mother on Christmas Eve. He did not believe that there would be any danger to the children and that the mother would be able to comply with any conditions set by the court. The judge did not make an order for overnight access but granted the mother access on Christmas Day.

In another case a Supervision Order was granted for a child whose two siblings were already in care. The father’s solicitor asked the social worker why a Care Order had not been sought previously when the mother had expressed suicidal ideation. The social worker replied that the mother’s attitude seemed to be one of annoyance rather than stress. The father’s solicitor said that he was deeply concerned and felt the children might be at risk.

The mother’s solicitor said that she was extremely distressed by the level of intervention from the social services. For example, she had not expected social workers to be looking through her fridge. The social worker replied that “these are big questions of basic care”.

The court heard that the father was consenting to the Supervision Order but wished for a shorter review time. The mother said that she welcomed the help of the social services as long as they were not constantly “on my back”. The CFA solicitor asked the mother did she think that her children had a happy upbringing, to which she replied, “Yes, I did everything for them.”

When asked about an incident where the children had said they had been locked out of the house, the mother replied: “They are lying children”. When asked why she had not asked to see her other children who were in care, the mother said: “I can’t bear to see them, the hurt they have caused me. I think the father has poisoned them against me.”

An application was made to discharge a care order in a case where the court was told that the child spends five days a week with his parents and attends parent and toddler meetings weekly with his parents. The court was told that the GAL viewed the current situation as very good. The judge said that, as there was no formal application to discharge the Care Order before the court, he could make no order in that regard. The judge commended the parents on all the efforts they had made and on their having dealt constructively with the services offered to them.