The prospect of one child who had been in care returning to his family, while his brother, who has special needs, remained, was raised when the Care Order came to the District Court for review. The Care Order until the age of 18 had been made for one child (A), who had a high level of special needs, and for one year for the other (B).
The Child and Family Agency solicitor told the court that the mother had recently given birth to two more children (Children C and D), by a different partner.
During the Care Order hearing the judge had noted: “A’s level of need is 24/7, including nocturnal deprivations.”
In the Care Order review, the CFA solicitor told the court that while more information was needed in respect of B, he did not have a high level of special needs like his brother. The psychologist had recommended occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.
B was currently having access with his mother, and overnight access was also taking place. This would now be put up to two overnights a week.
A was attending pre-school and there were concerns in relation to his on-going development, said the social worker. He needed full time supervision and the current access visit of two hours a week was enough for the mother.
The social worker told the GAL solicitor she felt an SNA would benefit B, who was attending school, and this would be put in place from September. B was on the occupational therapy waiting list, however children referred in 2011 were only now being seen. The OT therapist had recommended he start exercises with his foster family, so his therapy could be reinforced when he commenced. The social worker had set up a meeting between the mother, school and foster family to discuss the exercises.
The GAL told the court that the children’s foster family had not been keen on separating them, but now they saw that shared care for B with his mother was a more realistic prospect.
GAL: “[B] might go to live with his mum and A might stay with them.” A’s level of needs was so high that “if [B] stayed with the foster family his needs might not be met. Supports had been identified. [B] has a number of extra requirements that need to be met in order to satisfy his needs”.
Their mother had had two children with another partner and that relationship was going well. Her new partner “focuses on [B],” said the GAL, he seemed to be the person who could give the most to the child.
GAL: “[A] is a lovely little child but he is some handful, he’s a challenge, that’s for sure. If [the new partner] is there for the long haul there is every likelihood [B] could be returned home.”
Judge: “This is a very complex case, it is enormously encouraging to see full collaboration between all the parties concerned regarding [the children].” She said it was a delicate calibration, that it made sense to bring the case back to court again within three months because the milestones in relation to the two boys had to be kept under review.