An interim care order was extended in a provincial town in respect of five children whose parents were Muslim. Allegations had been made against the father and an investigation by the CFA was underway. The mother was in hospital recovering from a serious health incident and had been appointed a solicitor. The speech and language therapist said it was not in the best interests of the mother to inform her of the proceedings at this time. There was consent from the father. The GAL supported the application.
The social worker said a section 3 investigation by the CFA was ongoing and a Garda investigation was pending. The section 3 investigation did not form part of the proceedings. A meeting was held with the investigating Garda and the transcripts of the specialist interviews of the children were being transcribed. The statements of the children had been received. The social worker said: “upon receipt of the interview, we can [carry out] the next steps. The Gardaí have consented for therapy for [child A] and for her only.” The parenting capacity assessment was on hold until the investigations were complete.
One of the younger children was due to start school in September. The father attended the open day with him and met the principal. The child was excited about school.
The migrant support services was helping the father engage with the child protection concerns and attend meetings with the CFA. They assisted the CFA to understand the cultural differences and traditions of the family. The CFA was committed to facilitating the religious education of the children and there was a plan for the children to attend cultural and religious lessons during the summer. A psychological intervention was due to commence for one of the children, the 10-year-old child, around self-esteem. The social worker said: “We will progress that with the consent of the father.”
Access was positive and proceeded in a new environment suited to the children. They enjoyed access and interacted with their father and visited their mother in a rehabilitation centre. The social workers did not want to cause further distress to the mother and allowed her enjoy her time with the children.
The interim care order was extended for a period of two months.