Care Order refused for child missing in care

A judge in a District Court refused to make a Care Order for a 16 year old boy (A) who was missing in care but made an Interim Care Order for 29 days with the consent of the parents. The judge refused to make the Care Order because the boy had absconded and was not actually in the care of the CFA at the time the application was being made. A previous Interim Care Order had been granted in respect of A. When A was initially taken into care the the parents had said that they did not understand the nature of a Care Order, the CFA solicitor said.

A social worker said that A was living in emergency accommodation but he had recently absconded. She had spoken to him a number of days previously and he seemed to be doing well, she said. However she received a text message from the accommodation centre saying that the boy had gone missing and that A had said, when he was leaving, that his girlfriend had taken a drugs overdose. He had not said where he was going and contact with him had been lost and he had been registered as a child missing in care. The Gardaí had been notified and his whereabouts had become known.

The social worker said that the priority was to locate A and bring him back to the unit. The CFA were seeking a Care Order for 5 months in order to brng “a period of stability” to A’s life, the social worker said. The social worker said that there was a narrow window of opportunity for A and that the Care Order would allow the social work department to focus on work that needed to be done.

The social worker explained that A’s parents were in another jurisdiction and that she had received a text message saying that they “needed to take a break”. The social worker rang the mother to explain that the CFA would be applying for a Care Order for 5 months in respect of A. The social worker said that the reason the CFA were seeking the Care Order was that there were allegations of sexual abuse against a relative and of drug abuse on the part of the parents.