Interim care order extended pending decision on special care

A judge in Dublin District court extended an interim care order for a teenage boy and adjourned the full care order hearing until the decision of the special care committee was known. The mother was present in court, legally represented and was consenting to the application.

The social worker gave evidence that the placement had broken down. An application for the young person to be admitted to special care had been made and all parties were waiting to hear the results of that application. Attempts to secure an alternative residential placement were also being made in the event the application to special care was not successful.

She said it was difficult to keep the young person safe in the community. He was not adhering to the curfew. There had been several episodes where the boy had been missing in care and as of this application today, he had been missing since the previous night. However, he had contacted the residential unit by phone that morning to inform them he was safe.

The young person’s father had recently come back and wanted to be part of the young person’s life again. This was to be assessed.

The mother’s legal representative said the mother was working very cooperatively with the social work department. The serious concerns she had for her son’s safety remained and the forefront of her mind.

The guardian ad litem (GAL) said she supported the application. The boy needed a full and comprehensive assessment of his needs. There were concerns about drug use and antisocial behaviour.

She said the boy had a horse in another county and this horse offered great therapeutic support to him. He was calmer when he was with or had been caring for the horse and it was incumbent on the CFA to facilitate as much contact between the horse and the boy as possible. She said that these arrangements simply must be made. As an application for special care had been made, the application for a full care order should be delayed until the decision by special care committee was known.

The judge urged the CFA to facilitate contact between the young person and the horse. He granted an interim care order for 28 days and delayed the hearing of the full care order until after the special committee had met and informed all parties of their decision.