A teenager who was living in a foster home with her two-year-old child may move into accommodation with her partner and the child, the CFA told a District Court in a provincial city.
A Care Order had been made for the child, who was born to the girl when she was 15 and the subject of a Care Order in another jurisdiction. She had fled this jurisdiction when pregnant, fearing her child would be taken into care and adopted. When her baby was born the CFA sought a Care Order, but placed both the girl and baby in foster care, where she cared for her baby. The case came before the District Court for review.
The solicitor for the CFA said that there would be an assessment of the girl in the coming months with a view to stepping down from a full Care Order for the baby to a Supervision Order. The baby had been the subject of a one-year Care Order.
The social worker told the court there had been a lot of developments. The mother’s partner, the father of the baby, was working full-time and had secured accommodation. A parenting capacity assessment of him had been carried out which was very favourable. The mother had outgrown the care system.
“She is a mother. She has worked hard at organising her life, towards the goal of independence. She will need on-going support for herself and the child. Further assessments will be undertaken by Barnardos. The child is generally very healthy. There is a plan. They have got accommodation. They are ready to move in. Her partner wants to live as a family with them. We are fully supportive.”
The social worker said that one thing was not satisfactory – the fact that she was the subject of a Care Order in another jurisdiction, not in Ireland. Attempts to involve the social services in the other jurisdiction were not successful, though initially they had offered her the financial support she would have been due if she was living there. This meant she could not access her entitlements. If the social services in this jurisdiction stood by their previous commitments they could discharge the Care Order. An after-care worker had been identified for her, but this could not be progressed because technically she was under a Care Order in another jurisdiction.
The guardian ad litem said the mother loved her daughter and took very good practical care of her. “She is very honest with me, very feisty, which led to her separation from her own mother and her fears that her child will be taken away from her, so there is some distrust of the social work department. But she is willing to work with them. My recommendation at the moment is that she be supported to live independently with her child.
“The way she has been treated by [the other jurisdiction] is appalling. She has been abandoned into the Irish care system. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this.
“She is a good mother. Her social worker has great time for her. Her partner seems very interested in her and very supportive of her. He is aged 25, in a full-time job and willing to support the mother and his child. He came here from [the other jurisdiction]. He didn’t come before because she was under the age of consent and he waited until she was older.”
The judge commented that this was a very good outcome. “I was very concerned about her when she arrived. I would hope to hear of further progress in September.”