Young Ward of Court transferred from care to adult HSE placement – 2022vol2#61

The High Court granted an order sought by the Child and Family Agency (CFA) for a young Ward of Court to effect his transfer from his current residential placement to an adult HSE placement. A month previously, the guardian ad litem (GAL) had brought an order seeking the finalisation of the adult placement, due to a concern regarding delay, but the court heard that in the interim the transition plan had moved swiftly forward. On foot of that application, the CFA now sought the transfer order.

The young man (A) had been under a full care order for eight years. In mid-2022 the High Court had granted an interim wardship order and directed a medical visitor to be dispatched. On foot of that medical report the Court had admitted the young man into Wardship. A had a severe intellectual disability, a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with intellectual language impairment, and a suspected genetic condition. The young man had recently achieved his majority.

The orders to transfer were grounded on the affidavit of the aftercare worker who was a qualified social care leader within the CFA. In his affidavit, the aftercare worker made the averment that A had been assessed by a psychiatrist in mid-2022 under a High Court order. That assessment had found the young man to be incapable of managing his own affairs, to be of high needs and significantly vulnerable to exploitation, he was also at risk of neglect.

He had been in his current placement for over 10 years where he was being well supported. An aftercare plan had been prepared in respect of his transition upon turning 18. The HSE had identified the proposed placement as suitable and the objective of the service there would be to promote A’s independence and maximise his quality of life through supports.

The barrister for the CFA told the court that A continued to engage in a set routine, partook in social engagements and had access with his family. The proposed placement used the same model of care as his current placement and supports available to the young man there would include nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, consultant psychiatry, a dietician, dental services, community medical services, an advocacy service and a GP service.

It was proposed that the young man would be part of the community within his residential placement, which was a two-storey house and had a shared communal area and a large garden. His unit within the house of five other residents was a single occupancy unit and he would have his own bedroom. His allocated social care workers had been identified and both of them would be involved in his transfer.

The aftercare workers would shadow A in his current placement for one week so as to understand his routine and needs. During a second week, A would go to his proposed placement and meet peers with his aftercare workers and have some meals. By week three a routine would be established for the young man and a transfer to the placement would take place at his pace and would be dependent upon his needs. Photos of the staff had already been provided to him so he could familiarise himself with them. A was currently attending a special needs school and would progress to a day service on completion of his education in 2023. He enjoyed swimming, horse riding, outdoor walks, the cinema and access with his family.

The barrister for the CFA told the court that it was the Agency’s opinion that the proposed HSE adult placement was excellent and ideal for A’s needs, and there was no issue in recommending his transfer there.

The court noted that the HSE and the CFA had resolved the placement issue and had done so quickly.

“It is appropriate and necessary and very much in his best interests that the court grant the relief for the motion sought today,” noted the judge. He listed the case for mention only at the end of term so that a listing could be given for the new term if any issues needed to be aired regarding the new placement.