A 15-year-old teenage girl from Asia was placed in care under an Interim Care Order after presenting herself at the office of the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and seeking asylum. She is attending education and has been appointed a GAL.
The Dublin District Court was informed that the girl was “more settled”, “slowly building relationships” and was “very engaged” in her education. Through the GAL, the girl asked to communicate to the court that she likes the house, the staff and her bedroom.
The court heard that little was known of the girl’s background and journey to Ireland. The social worker and GAL both noted that they have yet to push her for information on her historical narrative. The CFA had no contact details or address for her parents.
It was believed her father is deceased and her mother was understood to have been deported to another Asian country.
The judge asked if the social worker had made any attempt to trace the girl’s relatives in any jurisdictions. The social worker replied that they had nowhere to begin to do that. The judge said it was his understanding that the normal approach was to contact the Irish Red Cross or equivalent body and that there was no country when tracing can not be done. The judge reminded the social worker that if this case proceeds to an application for a Care Order the sitting judge will need to be satisfied that such enquires had been made or informed why enquiries could not be made. The social worker replied that the issue is “a real block for her at the moment”.
She said the CFA was concerned about the girl’s health as she suffered from tiredness and lethargy, and sought the court’s permission for a full medical screening, including blood tests and an x-ray of her chest. The social worker said they could not anticipate what other tests may be needed.
Through the GAL the girl gave her consent to having a blood test carried out. The GAL agreed the medical tests were important. The judge asked the CFA to set out in a section 47 application what is standard medical testing, as there is no parent available to the court to give consent to these tests. He commented that the GAL should have been informed of the specific assessments planned and these should have been set out prior to the hearing.
The judge extended the Interim Care Order, he said that he was satisfied that the child had no parent or guardian in the State to provide care for her and so her welfare and protection needs required a care order.
He adjourned the application for a care order under section 18 to next court date. In relation to medical screening the judge he said he would dispense with parental consent and authorise the taking of blood samples from the child for the purpose of medical screening as an initial step. However in relation to further medical tests he requested that a list be compiled and provided to the GAL.