Supervised access for mother of 10-year-old – 2013vol2#15

Supervised access to the mother was ordered in a case where a Care Order relating to a 10-year-old boy was in for review in a rural town. The boy was described as very happy, but the HSE solicitor reported his foster parents had recently separated. However, they were working positively jointly in caring for the boy, who had a strong bond with both of them.

The social worker said that his view of his mother remained conflicted. He would like to see her from time to time and make sure she was OK. She suffered from alcohol problems and had mental health issues.

Quality access should take place in a supervised environment, she said. It was important to ensure that the mother was sober during access and “in a good place mentally”. There was no question of the father coming into the picture. The boy had no interest in meeting his father. He was a very aware and very intelligent little boy.

The mother’s solicitor asked was the mother cooperating with social services and the social worker said: “Yes, she is very open and honest.” Her solicitor said that, though she was present in court, she did not want to give evidence. “She’s very nervous,” she said. “She recently changed her medication. She was in hospital voluntarily. She discharged herself and is working with the health services. She acknowledges she has a condition and is cooperating with the HSE. She does not have an aggressive disposition and loves her son.”

The solicitor said the HSE had outlined, when obtaining the care order, why it felt the boy should have a relationship with his mother for his sense of identity growing up. The judge directed supervised access, but specified the mother must be sober during it and taking her medication.