Interim care order extended for four African children alone in Ireland

An interim care order was extended in a provincial town in respect of four children whose parents were from an African country. The mother was deceased. The father, who was in his country of origin, joined the proceedings via video link. The children had been granted refugee status and the father indicated he wished to come to Ireland to care for them. The guardian ad litem (GAL) supported the application.

The court heard there was good engagement between the social worker and the father. He asked to be assisted with legal representation going forward. The father was served by email every month with the application to extend the interim care order. The children’s placement was meeting their needs and the three eldest children were receiving bereavement support.

The social workers had had conversations with the father about coming to Ireland but they were unsure of his intentions. Only recently the father had said he wished to come to Ireland to care for the children. The father applied for a visa to come to Ireland previously and he was provided with a visa which was subsequently cancelled. He was applying again to come to care for the children and he would require support and advice. The social worker said the father’s level of contact had been impressive. He supported the children’s placement and cooperated with the social workers. He did everything to have his wife repatriated to her country of origin following her death.

The social worker said the department would carry out a parenting capacity assessment on the father if he did come to the State. The youngest child was in need of a medical procedure and the father gave his consent. There was a query of a possible disability in relation to the youngest child. Therapy had commenced with the child but an occupational therapist was not part of the team of therapists. The GAL felt it was important to have all of the services in place for the child to complete the assessment.

The interim care order was extended for a period of two months.