An Interim Care Order was granted in a provincial city in a case where five children were in care following allegations against their father and the CFA were seeking further assessments. The court heard that the children were doing well in care and that one of the children had been referred for play therapy but that they were “embedded in their foster placement.”
This was one of a large number of child care cases heard by the District Court in that city that day.
A social worker told the court that a forensic psychological risk assessment was taking place and there was also an on-going Garda investigation in the case and that a file was being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The court heard that the parents were co-operating and that the mother was visiting the children three times a week.
The solicitor for the father told the court that there had been no disclosures by the children in relation to the accusations made against the parents and the parents were seeking to have their children returned to them, as they felt they had done nothing wrong.
A social worker said that there were “a number of processes on-going and they need to take place.” There was a social work assessment and forensic psychological assessment outstanding and the court was told that they would be completed in two months’ time. The social worker said: “We would be hopeful that a decision can be made once those assessments are completed.”
The judge said that the court would have to decide on the basis on Dr X’s report whether he could make a decision prior to the criminal investigation.
The judge said that there were very serious allegations against the father and although there were no such allegations against the mother the judge said there was a question as to her knowledge of the allegations. The judge noted the children had been placed in a relative foster placement and he said that he was happy to see that it was working out well.
He said that he was sure that the parents would like to have them back but “it is good to see that they are doing well. This matter is progressing at a satisfactory pace given the complexity of the matter and the number of children. I cannot accuse anyone of foot dragging.”
Renewal of Supervision Order for six children for six months
A Supervision Order that had been granted for six children for six months was renewed amidst concerns over the father’s drinking and the children’s school poor school attendance.
The court heard that one of the children had said that she found it difficult to sleep at night and she said that the past traumas in her life were affecting her and she was thinking over things. The court was told that the child had been referred for support.
The court was told that a child care worker would be supporting the mother in ensuring that the children went to bed early enough to get up for school the next day as well as helping the mother with her anxiety. A family support worker would also be meeting the mother twice a week to help with household management. The judge said that the mother “was doing well and that she should be complemented for that.”
Review of Care Order of child with suspected intellectual disability
The court heard a review of a Care Order for a nine year old child who was described as having a suspected mild intellectual disability. The court was told that the child was going to be reassessed by CAMHS and that the assessment would be for foetal alcohol syndrome. It was hoped that there would be a further professional meeting after that assessment.
A social worker said that the boy had significant emotional and behavioural problems and had difficulty in gaining insight into the consequences of his actions. The court was told that the boy’s foster carers were “wholly committed and wanted to support him through [to] independence”.
The GAL told the court that she felt that the boy was not benefitting from a coordinated approach and that he was showing significant difficulties and his foster carers were struggling at times with his behaviour.
A psychologist had said that there was a discrepancy between his IQ and his performance, saying it was unlikely that he had an intellectual disability. The GAL said that “such a view indicated that there was something either organic or something like ADHD which was interfering with his ability to learn”.
The GAL said that he would benefit from a further referral (to psychological services). “If we allow the time for Dr X to see him we will be a better position. I think we need to let that happen,” she said.
The GAL said that her biggest concern was in relation to the sustainability of the placement given the level of intervention with the child. She said she felt very strongly that the foster family needed to be supported and given respite. She said that as the child gets older and bigger, the potential for his behaviour to get worse is high “until we get someone to manage him.”
Re-entry of case where supervision order in place.
A case in which a Supervision Order had been granted in respect of three children was re-entered. The court heard that a barring order was in place in respect of the father and he was barred from the family home.
A social worker told the court that the father had not agreed to give his consent to the referral of one of his children to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) nor was he agreeing to sign a passport application for one of the children to go on a trip. She said that the father had eventually agreed to sign the relevant consents but had acted very aggressively while doing so. The judge adjourned the matter for one month to ascertain whether the father would become more co-operative.