A review of a full care order was granted in the Dublin District Court for June 2013, to allow time for medical tests, results and diagnosis of a five-year-old boy. The full care order was granted in March 2010.
The mother was not present in court, but the father was.
The social worker said to the solicitor for the HSE that there will be an inquiry to see if the child has an underlying genetic disorder. He falls into the 5th percentile of cognitive ability. A psychologist assessed him before he started school in September, he is being disruptive in school.
The social worker told the court that the foster carers have said they need to know if they will need support services to care for the child. They are waiting for medical test results and then they will decide if they will still be able to offer care to the child. The foster carers were given the child as a long term placement in early March 2010 when the full care order was granted.
The solicitor for the HSE said that the child has had no access with his mother since April as she had not attended access meetings. The father recently came out of prison and requested access to his son. The social worker said that they want to do a life story with the child first in relation to his father, in order to build up to an access visit. She said that the child has never met the father but the father interjected that is not true and that “he reared him”.
The social worker said that they are awaiting an assessment for fetal alcohol syndrome. The mother drank a lot when she was pregnant.
She said that the child has found the transition to school very difficult and is “lashing out” in school at the other children and “walking around the classroom”. The judge asked if there are any supports available to him now, the social worker answered that an occupational therapist is working with the child and a special needs assistant who is there for the whole school is also available to the child.
The father then said to the judge that the child lived with him for the first 10 months of his life and visited him in prison, but that he had not seen him for three years. The judge responded that three years is a very long time for a child that age, that it was very important that contact would be resumed and that life story work with the child would be a good way of reintroducing his father to him.
The judge granted the review of the full care order under section 47 of the 1991 Child Care Act, with access by the father to be reviewed then.