A court in a provincial town refused to grant a supervision order for a child whose presentation in her creche had given rise to concerns. The Child and Family Agency (CFA) had brought a number of applications including an application for a care order under section 18 of the Child Care Act, 1991 and an application to appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to the child, all of which were struck out. The mother was expecting another baby with her new partner.
The social worker said she had written to the mother and requested a meeting. The social workers had been out on a team-building exercise and had agreed to meet the mother and her partner. The partner had met with the social worker in relation to a section 3 assessment and this assessment had commenced. The mother had attended at the assessment and the assessor said all assessments should go to stage two.
The social worker said: “I am concerned about the narrative given to the child. The mother has not changed her view [in relation to] working with TUSLA but changed her view towards working with me.”
The social worker said there were concerns about the child’s presentation in the creche. At the case conference the social workers had asked the mother to permit the child to go to play therapy as she had suffered a lot of trauma. The social worker said the child’s rocking behaviours were a result of her experiences. The mother had said she would think about allowing the child to attend play therapy but she did not come back with an answer.
The mother had completed parenting courses previously and contacted the centre providing the parenting course to ask for a play therapist. She had been told there was a small waiting list for the play therapist. The social worker said she did not have that discussion with the mother, but she would be satisfied as long as the credentials of the play therapist were the same as those of the professional she had referred the mother would consent.
There had been issues in relation to a posting on social media and these had been brought to the mother’s attention. The mother acknowledged the posts but her partner did not. He maintained the posts had been posted a long time ago. The mother said: “I cannot tell anyone what to put on Facebook. That girl has made up lies about the family.”
The solicitor for the CFA said there was an application for an order under section 18 and an application to appoint a GAL to the child. The judge asked, if the court did not grant a supervision order, could a GAL still be appointed to the child. The solicitor for the CFA said section 26 of the Child Care Act, 1991 empowered the court to appoint a GAL to the child who is the subject to care proceedings.
Counsel for the mother said her client was not consenting to the application or to an adjournment.
The judge said the approach of the mother had not been helpful but the progress that had been made was to continue. The judge was not happy to grant the supervision order and struck out all applications.