An interim care order was renewed for a nine-year-old African boy whose father was in Africa and whose mother was suffering from mental illness. He had two half-siblings who were with their father, his step-father, in Ireland.
The social worker said that the mother had said she did not want anything to do with the court. The father was in email contact with the HSE.
The boy’s guardian ad litem (GAL) said he had been appointed when the boy was taken into care following his mother’s admission into hospital. She had had two psychotic episodes and was not taking her medication. The boy had a lot of anxiety about what had happened to him before he went into care and was afraid of his mother. The social worker would be recommending he should stay in care and the case should be put down for a Care Order hearing.
“He doesn’t want to return home. The mother lacks insight into her need to take medication and adhere to her medical regime. I recommend access visits with his siblings.
“It’s very stressful for a child to see a parent who’s clearly unwell and out of touch with reality. He is an intelligent child, but he has been badly impacted by his experiences. Even when she is not having an episode her relationship with him is not great anyway. She has limited attachment to him because of her relationship with his father.”
The interim order was renewed for eight days. When it resumed a week later the social worker said she had visited the mother at home. She was shouting very loudly at the youngest child, aged one and a half. Asked if she was taking her medication she said she was, but could not find the prescription. She appeared not to be taking it.
The mother was not looking for access to her son in care, and he said he did not want to see her at the moment. She seemed to be focusing on the younger children. The boy wanted to see his younger siblings but to spend Christmas in the foster home.
The guardian said she did not believe the mother had the capacity to maintain her medical regime or care for her son. The boy said he did not want to return to her care at the moment. He said she wouldn’t take her medication and would shout at him again. He was worried about his younger siblings. He had a strong bond with his step-father, but he (the step-father) was disengaging from both the boy and his mother.
The order was renewed and efforts to engage with the father in Africa were to continue.