A mother succeeded in having an Interim Care Order for her 17-year-old son discharged by the District Court in a rural town. The discharge was opposed by the HSE.
The solicitor for the HSE said they had huge child protection concerns. However, the boy had expressed a wish to return home and they could not really oppose it. The solicitor said the boy had been forced to reside in a garage, there were serious allegations of assault on him made to the Gardai, which had now been withdrawn. They were very serious allegations.
The solicitor for the mother said she felt she had no choice when the order was made some months earlier but to consent. The relationship between the boy and his step-father had broken down, and the man had acknowledged he had assaulted the boy. Later she spoke to her son and he said he wanted to return home. This was confirmed by the solicitor for the boy.
Both the mother and son were sworn in by the judge, who asked them if they acknowledged the history that had been outlined. They both did. The boy told the judge he wanted to go back to his mother.
The judge said he would discharge the care order, but with conditions. These were: that the mother agree to attend a parenting programme specifically related to parenting teenagers; that they would engage with the family support services; that they both engaged in a counselling session, to be arranged by the HSE, and in family therapy; that the social work department be permitted to visit the school and that mother should engage in a meaningful manner with the HSE.
The judge added that she should make every reasonable effort to ensure that her husband, the boy’s step-father, should not impose any pressure or undue influence, physical or otherwise, on her son and if anything of the kind took place she was to contact the HSE immediately.