An Interim Care Order was granted for two children, a boy and a girl, whose father was in prison and whose mother was abusing drugs. The couple were married. The children had been living with a relative following an earlier intervention by the HSE.
The social workers said there was very little food in the relative’s house, no oil for heating, they were not allowed wash. The boy reported being beaten by young relatives. The school reported hygiene problems and that the children were missing a lot of school. The boy found it difficult to follow class work and an educational psychologist was being sought. The school also reported the boy was angry all the time.
The girl had made disclosures that were very concerning, including that her mother hit her. The children saw both parents take drugs and the girl, who was not yet a teenager, had had to care for her baby sister. The boy had several thefts reported against him by a young age but his mother minimised that. He had been interviewed by the Gardai.
The children had been brought to a short-term placement, and the girl said she wanted to remain in foster care, according to the social worker. She said she did not want to miss any more school, she wanted help with her homework and to be cared for.
The boy wanted to go back to his mother though he knew she could not look after him at the moment. A place was coming up in a supervised family centre, but it would only accept the mother if she was drug-free or on a methadone programme. The father had asked that one of his relatives be assessed as a suitable foster-carer, and this was being done, but the girl did not necessarily want that arrangement.
Access had been arranged between the children and the parents, which was supervised. The girl was afraid there would be repercussions about her disclosures.
The solicitor for the parents said they consented to the Interim Care Order, which was adjourned for renewal in a month. The judge ordered the appointment of a guardian ad litem for the children, and said the parents should be asked for their consent for any medical examination.