A Dublin Metropolitan District Court judge ordered an extension to an interim care order for four weeks in respect of a teenage boy who was due to become a father within the coming months.
The social worker told the court that, in her opinion, the mother of the teenager did not have the skills to take care of her son. She stated that the mother had completely withdrawn from any engagement with the Child and Family Agency (CFA) and that there was no potential for reunification at that time. She had had some discussions with the mother about a possible reunification but the mother had become very distressed at the meeting.
The social worker informed the court that the mother had taken her son abroad for 10 days on a holiday, but despite this the mother claimed that she could not manage to take care of her son for even one overnight at home.
The social worker said that, after it became aware of the holiday, the CFA had sent letters to the mother outlining its concerns about the legality of continuing the interim care order given that the mother had taken her son away on holidays. However, the mother had not responded to these letters and also had not answered any phone calls from the CFA. She said that the best outcome for this situation would be a repaired relationship between mother and son.
The social worker stated that the youth was doing very well. An aftercare assessment for him had been completed and his case had been reviewed the previous day. She said that the youth was quite an exceptional young person. He had a full-time job, he was hungry to learn and, although he was somewhat frustrated by his current role, he had successfully advocated for a pay rise. She also stated that the youth had a baby coming in approximately two months’ time and that he was interested in doing an apprenticeship in order to improve his circumstances.
She said that the youth was in emergency accommodation at the time and that he was very resilient. He had expressed an openness to the social worker’s suggestion to expand his social circle.
She said that she understood that it was the mother’s intention to resume care for her son, but when questioned further by the judge, the social worker stated that it was her view that it was in the best interests of the child that he remain in care for the time being especially with the upcoming life change to his circumstances.
She also said that the mother was well educated and worked as a health professional. However, while the mother was quite capable, she became very stressed easily.
The GAL told the court that he had been appointed as the GAL to the youth quite recently but had spoken with him on a number of occasions and he had also attended the CFA’s child care review the previous day. The GAL said that the aim was to provide the youth with stability and a focus. He supported the application to extend the interim care order and also supported getting an early date for a full care order hearing.
The judge said that he was satisfied that the threshold to extend was met and ordered an extension to the interim care order for four weeks. He also fixed a date for the full care order hearing. He was informed that the youth’s baby had a due date in early 2023. In that regard, the judge fixed a date for the full care order hearing for one month after the baby’s due date.