A Supervision Order for a year was granted for two children, one [A] of primary school age, the other [B] pre-school, who had been found unsupervised in the estate where they lived, and where the older child had missed a lot of school.
The judge said she had read the social work report, there was no need for the social worker to go through it. She also advised the parents to get legal advice, but the father said they did not want representation.
Judge: “The social worker says the children were outside and hungry while there were parties going on in the apartment. What do you say?”
Father: “If anything they are overweight for their age.”
Judge: “[A] was off school. You said they were sick. But there is no record of a visit to the doctor. There was a home visit. The children did not have proper clothes. They were untidy and dirty.”
Father: “The beds might have been untidy.”
Judge: “You seemed to be under the influence of something. Are you taking cannabis? Are you facing charges?”
Father: “Charges have nothing to do with me caring for the children.”
Judge: “Robbery. Serious charges which could mean a custodial sentence.”
Father: “Cannabis means getting off heroin.”
Judge: “[B] must get inoculations. You must see the Public Health Nurse.”
The solicitor for the CFA said the agency had a responsibility to protect children. “They are not getting proper cooperation from you. That is why we are making an application for a Supervision Order. In the absence of your permission to see the children they had no option but to seek a Supervision Order.”
Father: “We did refuse after they had seen the children numerous times. I’ve been through this system. They say they’re there to help, but it only leads to children being taken away from their parents. They say ‘why don’t you do this?’ and ‘why don’t you do that?’ My short-term memory is shot after years of chronic drug use. They’re not helping. They’re just looking to find things.
“About the school attendance, I can’t really argue with that. He’s quite weak in the chest. About the ‘neglect issues’ – if we were neglecting the children they’d be skinny and dirty.”
CFA solicitor: “What’s so bad about social workers visiting?”
Father: “They took me off my mother when I was happy. I’m sorry if I don’t trust social services.”
Asked if he had a drug problem, he said he did not, he smoked cannabis occasionally at night if he had had a stressful day. “I think it’s constitutionally reprehensible that they went to my probation officer and asked him for information about me, and worse that he gave it.”
Judge: “They had reports that a five or six year old child was out wandering around the estate. He could wander off. Parents must know where their children are and who they’re with.”
Father: “It’s a gated community. We’ve told him to stay where we can see him.”
The mother told the court the children were never hungry. Referring to the older child being out in the estate, she said: “He’s in and out of friends’ houses. About the parties, the walls and ceilings are very thin. We’re a young couple. We have friends and they call.”
Judge: “After what I’ve heard I would have concerns about a young child wandering around. A five or six year old cannot protect himself. There are people watching these things if they see a child not being observed. I’m going to make an Order for Supervision for six months.”
The father left the court, slamming the door.
The judge said to the mother: “Your partner is now showing the attitude he probably shows to the social workers. The conditions of the Supervision Order are: [A] and [B] are to be supervised at all times; [A] attends school; [A] and [B] are brought to the doctor and see health professionals; [A] is seen by social workers. He is of an age when he can be seen alone.”
The mother asked what was meant by social workers visiting at any time. “I don’t want my life ruined by social workers calling.”