A mother consented to the extension of the interim care order in a District Court in a rural town in respect of a 13-year-old child. The application was supported by the GAL.
The social work team leader said the child was getting on well since the last court date. She said the mother had access with the child at the weekend. The child had spoken to the mother but had concerns that she was hungover. The judge asked if the mother was not minding herself.
The social worker said the child was supposed to have overnight access but visited the mother and decided not to [have overnight access].
The judge said: “The risks of the mother not having contact would be worse.” The court was satisfied that grounds existed to extend the interim care order.
Another interim care order was extended in respect of five children. Neither parent was present. The social work team leader said overall the children were getting on well. There was an ongoing assessment of the needs of the four year old child who had temper tantrums. The child was described as being “frustrated in herself” and needing support. The social worker was of the opinion that the child was getting support from the placement.
The children were in three separate placements. There were two children in each placement and the baby was in a placement of her own. The social worker said the children got on with the father and met him for weekly access.
The judge asked if there had been any attempt to have the children placed together. The social worker said: “At the placement the children have sensitive needs and a [single] set of foster carers could not give them the support they need. The two sets of girls need a huge amount of support.”
The GAL said: “There was no question about the quality of care in the placements but there have been presentation issues in the last month.” The foster carers reported ongoing issues in relation to the two older children regarding their schooling as they “were performing well below average.” The GAL explained there were issues with their emotional regulation and the way in which they related to one another and others. She said: “The placement is under pressure and a psychological assessment is needed for all of the children.” It was agreed the parties would meet and ascertain what was needed for each individual child.
The judge asked: “Did you brief a psychologist by letter?”
She replied she did and said there should be a coalition of views.
The solicitor for the father explained the father was not present but was consenting to the application. The judge said he was aware the father “was conscientious and a good dad within his capacity.”
Both parents consented to the extension of another interim care order in respect of one child. The mother was present but not represented.
The social worker explained that the grounds continued to exist in respect of the child. The child was getting on well at her placement but had problems with allergies. She said: “We have asked the parents to comply with requirements but they have not done [so].”
The mother said “I didn’t see the social worker and I left messages.”
The judge asked the mother’s position regarding treatment.
The mother said “I asked for a reference and I didn’t receive it. I would like a new social worker as I don’t get on with her.”
The solicitor for the CFA informed the court that he could speak to the mother regarding those issues. The judge said that if the mother had a solicitor all of her concerns would have been accommodated. He said a breakdown in communication was an issue.
The social worker said access was going well and had been attended by both parents. The father’s solicitor said he found it difficult to have access at the times set out due to his work schedule.
The judge asked: “Is access [held] jointly?”
The social worker replied it was not, due to the volatility of the parties.
The interim care order was extended.