A judge in a rural town made an interim care order for a separated teenage boy who had been brought from a refugee detention camp in Greece as part of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, whereby separated children have been relocated to Ireland through the a special project. This project involves a specialised team who collect separated minors from designated refugee camps and bring them to Ireland. They then work with these children to integrate them into Irish society.
Evidence was heard from a specialised social worker, who said he had travelled to Greece to collect a group of separated teenagers that were to be relocated to Ireland. When he arrived to accept and accompany these teenagers the authorities had asked him to take the teenager of this application also, even though he was not part of the original cohort. He said: “They literally begged me to take him.”
This boy had fled for his life after seeing his mother and other family members killed. The teenager and his family had been specifically targeted by the Taliban after the regime change. He had journeyed to Greece alone. He had been traumatised by his experience. The teenager had made friends with those who were being relocated to Ireland and it would have been devastating if he had been left behind. The social worker agreed to take him.
He said on arrival in Ireland the teenager had made an application for international protection. He had been placed with a foster family and was doing well. It was hoped that even though it was the foster family’s first fostering experience, this placement would be a long-term match. He has had contact with his friends from the refugee camp.
The social worker said the boy had refused any counselling or therapeutic supports, but he had been referred to all the appropriate support services which would be able to work with him when he was ready. He had been enrolled in an English language school for this academic term but hoped he would start school next term with English language support.
The judge asked if she should appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to the teenager. The social replied not at this stage because he was receiving all the supports necessary from the social worker’s specialised team.
The judge made an interim care order for 28 days and set dates for a full care order hearing.