A case was heard in the High Court during the Minors’ Review List concerning a child who wished to return home from psychiatric facilities outside of the jurisdiction but could not due to a lack of suitable services.
The teenage boy had been in a psychiatric secure detention unit in another jurisdiction for three years. The barrister for the CFA told the court that while it was an extremely positive case and the child had done extremely well, a level of risk was still implicit in his presentation. An onward placement in Ireland was therefore extremely difficult to identify. A risk assessment had begun by a clinical forensic psychologist who found that while there had been huge progress, there would be risk to staff and peers in any further placement.
The barrister told the court that the social work department had not deemed it possible that he return to his family home in Ireland while a placement was being sought. He was currently awaiting a prospective placement proposal on a course and a referral had been made a residential school run by the CFA.
Senior counsel for the guardian ad litem told the court that the minor felt he had done everything that had been asked of him and that he was being detained in a psychiatric hospital because there was no appropriate placement for him in Ireland. He felt his human rights were being infringed. While the senior counsel recognised it was a difficult case progress needed to be made regarding his onward placement.
Senior counsel for his legal guardian (his grandmother) told the court that she was beginning to question the legal basis for his continued detention. It appeared the only reason he was still there was because there was no other placement for him.
The judge said he could not be left there longer than permissible.
The case had been on the Minors’ Review List five times over a five month period. Senior counsel for the guardian ad litem told the court in February that out of all the people in this facility abroad, this boy had been detained for the longest amount of time.