Interim care order extended while mother’s mental health assessed

An interim care order was extended in respect of one child in a provincial town. The mother was from an African country, she suffered from mental health issues and was receiving treatment in a psychiatric unit. The identity of the child’s father was unknown and paternity had not been established. There were issues in relation to the child’s immigration status. The guardian ad litem (GAL) supported the application.

The social worker said she had been in contact with the mother’s treating consultant as the mother was acutely unwell and not in a position to speak to the social worker. There was no progress in relation to access with the child. The mother could have telephone access but she was calling when the child was in bed. The placement was meeting the child’s needs to a very high standard. The social worker visited the child and the foster carers were happy to keep the child as long as necessary. The social worker was awaiting a report from the mother’s consultant about her diagnosis and her capacity.

The GAL said the mother was very sick and generally resistant to treatment. She was on high doses of anti-psychotic medication and there had been a number of relapses. The mother had spent time in a high support unit.

There was a difficulty regarding the child’s immigration status. The embassy of the mother’s country of origin would not issue a passport to the child as the mother was so unwell. There were concerns the embassy would also not issue a passport following an application under section 47 to dispense with the consent of the mother. The child was partly Irish but the father could not be contacted to complete a DNA test. The GAL thought it might be possible to complete a test that indicated the father was from Ireland and then go back to oblige him to complete a DNA test.

The interim care order was extended for a period of 28 days.