A full Care Order until he was 18 was granted for a boy with the consent of his parents, who were separated and were from another European country. His mother had sent him to live with his father, but the father was away a lot and could not care for him.
The boy had come into care the previous year when concerns were raised by the school. The boy had moved from his mother’s to his father’s home, but his father was frequently away working for four days in a row and the boy was left alone. He was placed in voluntary foster care, but the CFA was unable to get consents from his parents on issues like school trips and needed a court Care Order.
The CFA solicitor said the father did not want to participate in the proceedings, but was consenting to the Care Order. He did want a psychological assessment of his son, and was prepared to pay for it.
The mother’s solicitor said she was consenting to the full Care Order until the boy was 18 as this was in his best interests. She saw everything the social workers were doing as good. The solicitor said that some of the content of what she was saying, suggesting a lack of interest in her son, may have been lost in translation.
The social worker told the court that, when contacted by the social services, the mother had indicated she was unable to look after the boy, that he was living with his father. She said she was washing her hands of her son, insisting he was living with his father. There was a history of domestic violence between the couple.
“Neither parent wants to take responsibility for him. He is a very intelligent and articulate boy. He likes his foster placement. He has just started secondary school. He is aware of the circumstances of his going into care and is philosophical about it. He is open to conversations about it.
“He is very angry with his father. We are working on that. His relationship with his mother is more positive. He has an older sister living in Ireland and sees her in the school holidays.”
Referring to the father’s offer of psychological help for the boy, she said he had picked a psychologist who was not registered with the Psychological Association of Ireland. The CFA had recommended psychologists used by the HSE with experience of children’s emotional difficulties.
The mother’s solicitor said: “There were no child protection concerns for 11 and a half years. The mother realises she cannot manage a teenager and is prepared to consent to the Care Order now.”
Making the order until the child is 18, the judge says: “It is a very sad situation where the CFA tried to promote reunification and failed.”