An interim care order was extended in respect of a child whose mother was deceased. The father was not present but had given his consent. The GAL was supporting the application
The judge asked: “The child has had a traumatic childhood. What about a full care order?”
The solicitor for the CFA said a fostering assessment was due to be completed and a date for a full care order would be sought then. He said there was consent from the father and the notice party to seek a date [for the full care order].
The solicitor for the GAL said the outstanding matter concerned the long-term care of the child.
The solicitor for the CFA said under section 17 (1) of the Child Care Act, 1991 an interim care order could be made if the court was satisfied that there was reasonable cause to believe that the circumstances under section 18 of the Act existed. The social worker said she was satisfied that the threshold had been met.
The judge granted the order subject to the recommendations of the CFA and GAL which supported the application.
Interim care order where mother had own GAL
In another case an interim care order was extended in respect of one child. The mother had a GAL and was present and consented to the application. A GAL had also been appointed to the child.
The judge asked if a solicitor was needed for the mother’s GAL.
The solicitor for the CFA said the GAL for the child had been appointed pursuant to the District Court Rules and the CFA was obliged to pay for a GAL for the child under section 26 of the Act. He said the CFA was not obliged to provide a solicitor for the mother’s GAL as there was no provision in the Act.
The judge asked the mother’s GAL: “Do you need a solicitor?”
She responded that she may and had already consulted a solicitor.
The social worker said the threshold had been met for the order as the child’s health and welfare had been neglected. The court had previously directed that the father take a DNA test but he failed to make contact. The father said he would not be able to attend a meeting and subsequently changed his phone number. The social worker said she had concerns as the mother informed her she would be unable to attend access as she was going abroad to spend time with her family.
The solicitor for the mother said she [the mother] was intending to come back.
The GAL for the mother said there were issues with safety. She had spoken to the social worker and was going to meet with a disability service as it might be a police matter. She said: “We need to assess if there are issues in relation to safety.”
Care orders for four children
Full care orders were granted in respect of four children for a short period of time. Both parents were represented but neither was present. The solicitor for the parents said she had no instructions but was not opposing the application. The GAL was supporting the application.
The social worker for the children was satisfied the threshold had been met, under section 18 (1)(c) of the Act, for a full care order.
The solicitor for the GAL said a number of assessments, including a fostering assessment and a psychologist assessment of the mother, were due to be concluded in two months. There had been no assessment of the father. The social worker said the father needed to decide if he would attend an inpatient service. She said the parents failed to complete urinalysis.
The judge granted a full care order subject to the recommendations of the CFA and GAL for a period of two months.
In another case an interim care order was extended in respect of six children. Both parents were represented but the father was not present. The GAL was supporting the application and a number of recommendations. The social worker for the CFA said the agency was satisfied the threshold had been met for a continuing order.
The solicitor for the mother asked: “The GAL has recommended that the children are assessed by a consultant paediatrician…. will they be assessed?”
She replied “Yes, but there [has been] slow progress due to disruptions with the placements.” She said there had been two placement moves but the new placements were now secure. There were two sets of foster carers and the children were settled. She said the children had access with their parents, with their mother on her own and with the mother’s family. Phone access had not been authorised. She said there were no assessments outstanding.
There was an assessment needed for the parents and the solicitor for the mother said the assessor ought to be available to commence [the assessment] within the next month and it was hoped to have the letter of instruction in his hands so that he could confirm the dates [of the assessment].
The solicitor for the father said she met with the father recently and a letter had been sent to him stating that he had 14 days to respond to the allegations concerning the two older children. The social worker said: “Yes, that is an assessment.”
The solicitor said there was no consent from the father in relation to the application but he indicated he wished to cooperate.