A care order was granted in respect of a two-year-old child in a provincial town. The child was the youngest of five siblings and the paternity of the father could not be established. The child was placed in care after birth on a voluntary basis and placed with her four siblings. The mother had a history of alcohol and drug misuse. The guardian ad litem (GAL) supported the application.
The solicitor for the mother said: “She [the mother] is not here. She consents to the care order and only wants what is best for the child. She is not in a position to care for her.”
The social worker said before the child’s birth there were concerns about the other children. Three of the siblings were the subjects of full care orders and the fourth child was the subject of an interim care order. The mother had a long-standing history of drug and alcohol misuse. There was violence in her previous relationships and the home was described as “chaotic”. The older children had the responsibility of caring for the younger ones.
The social worker conducted a home visit since the last court date. The mother described how she had engaged in a chaotic five-week binge of alcohol and drugs and said she had been arrested for the alleged assault of her partner. The social worker discussed the full care order application for the child with the mother.
Efforts were made to contact the presumptive father. The CFA wrote to him and offered him office appointments but he failed to attend. He neither responded nor engaged.
Access had been suspended before Christmas as the mother missed three access visits due to her binge of alcohol and drugs.
The social worker said the child was born with a heart murmur. The child was now thriving and meeting all milestones. Her emotional health was being meet by her foster carers.
The GAL said: “The mother loves her children.” The mother supported the children in the placement and her support gave them stability. The child had not been adversely affected by the mother like the other children as she had the least experience of life with the mother. The GAL said: “My involvement with the mother has been positive and she always endeavoured to address her difficulties.”
The judge granted a full care order to the child’s majority.