Reviews of Care Orders as children approach 18

The majority of the child care applications in a provincial city in one day were reviews of cases where a child had been subject to a care order and was approaching his or her age of majority. In those cases it was clear that the judge was keen to ensure that there was sufficient support in place for the young person as he or she approached the age of eighteen.

In one case the judge had requested a case to come back in for a review when the child was approaching his age of majority. The judge was apprised of the child’s circumstances and access arrangements with his family. The judge said that, as the boy was 16 years of age, it might be wise to conduct some anticipatory planning to avoid any problems down the line. The judge was assured that the guardian ad litem was a point of contact for the boy.

In another case review of a Care Order the judge expressed his disquiet at the fact that the father of the child was not present. The judge adjourned the matter for two weeks and asked the solicitor to write to the father to say that if he did not appear at the next court appearance a witness summons would issue.

In another review the court was told that while the child was doing well in school, but contact and access with the girl’s mother remained a sad issue with very intermittent contact. The court was told that the girl simply wanted to know if the mother was alive and well.

In yet another review of a Care Order the court was told that the child’s mother was doing very well having attended a therapeutic service for addiction. The judge however questioned whether the mother’s current support level was sufficient to maintain abstinence as the court was told that she was attending weekly and monthly meetings with addiction services.