Health Service Executiv -v- MM & anor (Care Order on Consent - Abuse and Neglect)

JudgeHorgan P.
Judgment Date12 June 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] IEDC 11
Case OutcomeApproved
Date12 June 2012
CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
[2012] IEDC 11
12 June 2012
1. This is an applicat ion for a Care Order brought by the HSE under sect ion 18 of the Child Care Act, 1991 in respect of a f ourteen
year old (Child 1), a seven year old (Child 2), and a five y ear old (Child 3).
2. The t wo respondents are the parents of the t hree children and are not married to one another.
3. The parents are separately represented, the mother is represented by a privately engaged solicitor and t he father is represented
by the Legal Aid board.
4. The c hildren have a Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”) to represent their separate interest in the procee dings and to advise t he Court as
to t heir separate wishes and views. The GAL was represented by his solicitor.
5. The c hildren came into the c are of the HSE following the making of an Interim Care Order on 20 April 2011.
6. The HSE had significant prior involvement with the fa mily since 1998. On at least two occ asions, the Garda Síochána invoked
sect ion 12 of the 1991 Ac t. T he HSE sought some five Supervision Orders in an effo rt to support the family as a viable funct ioning
unit (the Supervision Orders are dated 17 July 2007, 20 June 2008, 31 January 2009, and 29 April 2010). Significant family support
services we re put in place in the period but unfortunately even e xtensive levels of fa mily support were insufficient to ensure t he
children’s safety and w ellbeing in the c are of t heir parents.
7. The Court w as informed by the legal representatives fo r the parents t hat t hey eac h had instructions from their respect ive clients
to c onsent t o the F ull Care Order sought by the HSE and supported by t he GAL.
8. The Soc ial Worker gave evidence as per her Reports to Court c ontained at Tab 1 of the Booklet of Reports handed into Court. She
affirmed that the c ontents of t he Reports cont ained in this Booklet aut hored by her were ac curate and t rue and that her professional
opinion was that t he threshold criteria of sect ion 18(1)(c) of t he 1991 Act had been met. This applicat ion on the basis that the
children’s physical, psychological, and soc ial health needs and inte llectual and emotional development and welfare are likely to be
avoidably impaired or neglect if a f ull care order is not granted.
9. It was her evidence t hat the issue in this application is not w ilful abuse or neglect, but abuse and neglect due to t he absenc e of
parental capac ity of each parent whether parenting separately or together. She a cknowledged that the impact of the intellect ual
disability suf fered by both parents has resulted in neither of t hem having adequate parenting capac ity notwit hstanding that e ach
dearly loves their children. I do not propose t o recount her evidence in detail as it is distressing for the parents and the det ail is
conc eded.
10. Draft Care Plans in respect of eac h child in Form CC01.13b.00 were set out in Tab 2 of the Booklet and provide that Child 1 will
continue t o reside in Residential Care, and that Child 2 and Child 3 will cont inue to reside in relative foste r care (their pat ernal aunt
who was approved as the long term foster c arer in May 2012).
11. The rec ommendation of the GAL was t hat t he HSE should provide Art Therapy for Child 1 would be adopted by the HSE.
12. The GAL gave evidenc e as per her Reports to Court. She has met with all three children on a regular basis. Child 1 has been able
to c ommunicate sat isfact ion with his placement. He reports t hat he likes the st aff, his bedroom, and the house. During the GAL’s visit
on 24 May 2012, Child 1 stated t hat he wa s happy.
13. The GAL has not be en able to asc ertain full clarity w ith regard to Child 2’s views, wishes, and fee lings. She presents as a content
child who is skilled in the art of distrac tion when engaged with regard t o her views. Her presentat ion in this regard is stark.
14. Child 3 has also been able to express her feelings with regard to her placement. She reports being happy living with her Aunt.
15. The GAL expressed satisfac tion with the Draft Care Plans for eac h of the children noting that:
(a) the long t erm placement for t he girls has now been resolved;
(b) the Soc ial Work Department refers Child 1 to Art Therapy to support him to proc ess his life experiences t o date;
(c) she would like the case to be re- entered before t he Court if this c ase is unallocat ed for a period longer than six
(d) she would like the ca se to be re-entered if t here is any c hange of plac ement proposed for Child 1, Child 2, or
Child 3; and

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