Health Service Executive -v- YG (Care Order - Physical Abuse and Neglect)

JudgeDaly J.
Judgment Date10 December 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] IEDC 25
Case OutcomeApproved
Date10 December 2012
CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
[2012] IEDC 25
10 December 2012
Decision delivered ex tempore on 10 December 2012 and written decision c irculated on 18 December 2012.
1. This is an applicat ion for a Care Order under section 18 of t he Child Care Act, 1991 (herein after referred to as ‘t he 1991 Act’) in
respect of Child 1 who is 9 years old. The case was heard on 10 December 2012. Child 2 is currently in the c are of the Health Service
Executive (HSE). She was admitted to t he care of the HSE pursuant to an application for an Emergency Care Order on 3 June 2011
which has been ext ended by the Court on 19 occ asions since t hat date .
2. I am satisfied that the respondent mother has been properly served with not ice of these proc eedings.
3. I am satisfied that the [District given] has jurisdict ion to hear this applicat ion.
4. The HSE was represented in these proc eedings by their Solicitor.
5. The mother was represente d in these proce edings by her barrister and her solicitor.
6. Child 2 was represented in these proceedings by her Guardian Ad Litem, (“GAL”) who was represented by her solicitor. T he GAL
indicated to the Court her support f or a Care Order in respect of the c hild and recommended such Order for the f ull duration.
7. On 10 December 2012, counsel f or the mother advised the Court t hat she was c onsenting to t he making of a Care Order in respect
of Child 2 for the full duration to age 18 years. All parties indicated t o the Court their agreement regarding certa in findings of f act .
8. On 26 October 2012, the Court heard evidence of the Soc ial Worker in advance of t he sc heduled hearing, due to her unavailability
to give evidenc e at the hearing.
The Soc ial Worker confirmed her qualifications to t he Court and sw ore to t he conte nts of her report with supporting documentation
previously submitted t o Court in advance of the hearing. The Social Worker gave evidence of her involvement with this c ase since
September 2011. She described contac t between t he mother and Child 2 which she had supervised and noted very little warmth
between mother and daughter. She gav e evidence of disclosures on 5 December 2011, 27 February 2012, and 5 March 2012 to her
foster- carers and the GAL by Child 2 of physical abuse by the mother, each of w hich disclosures the S ocial Worker had subsequently
confirmed with Child 2. She gave evidence t hat t hese disclosures had been raised with the mother who admitted to the Soc ial Worker
she had hit the children in the past. She gave evidence of further disclosure by Child 2 on 11 June 2012, of 3 instanc es of past
physical abuse by t he mother, which the Social Worker again confirmed with Child 2. The So cial Worker gave evidence of how when
she raised these f urther disclosures with the mother, she admitted pulling Child 2’s hair and hitting Child 2 and her older brother. The
Social Worker then gave evidenc e of a further disclosure by Child 2 on 20 September 2012 of a video the mother had made of Child 2,
aged 3, naked and that the mother had shown t o strangers in their home when Child 2 was a ged 6. The Soc ial Worker gave evidence
that w hen she tried to raise this disclosure with the mother she threatened t o publish the video on the inte rnet. At t his point the
mother interrupted t he proceedings, reiterated this threat and left t he Court. The Court adjourned.
At t his point, the GAL made an ex parte applicat ion to have the mother held in contempt of c ourt for breac h of sec tion 47 Directions
made by the Court on 26 Sept ember 2012. This application was later withdrawn.
The Soc ial Worker continued to give ev idence of t hree different explanations the mother had provided for this video and that she
could not be located and did not want a ny further cont act with the Social Work Department. T he Soc ial Worker gave ev idence that
this matter had been reported t o the Gardaí who are investigat ing the matter. The Social Worker, under cross-examination, gave
evidence t hat a f urther referral to a treat ment unit has been made for Child 2.
The Soc ial Worker continued to give ev idence of periods when t he mother did cooperate and wo rk well with the Social Work
Department and under c ross examination gave evidenc e that in her functional parenting role the mother was good t o some extent
with Child 2 reporting some positive experiences wit h her mother. She described the assist ance s he provided to the mother to acc ess
GP services, rent allowanc e and ac commodation, and her referral for the mother to psy chiatric as sessment — the results of which
indicate t he mother most likely has a personality disorder which might be improved to some degree with t herapeutic intervent ion;
however, the Social Worker gave her opinion that the mother was not likely to engage with s uch intervention. T he Social Worker has
referred the mother for further psychological ass essment. The Soc ial Worker acknowledged under cross examination how t he doct or’s
report describes t he mother’s language difficulties, how it desc ribes that at times of anxiety and agit ation her behaviour can be
wrongly interpreted as aggression, and that threats may not be real as this may be how t he mother expresses emotion.
The Soc ial Worker gave evidence of how she has explored family placements f or Child 2 with her maternal grandmother in Country 1
and maternal aunt in Country 2 but these have been discount ed for a number of reasons including minimal relationships, language, and
separation of siblings. The Soc ial Worker also gave evidence t hat t he maternal grandmother denied the mother’s description of her
experiences growing up given to the s ocial worker and other professionals.
The Soc ial Worker gave evidence of Child 2’s overly sexualised behaviours and reduced diet when a dmitted into care. She described
how these behaviours have been addressed and improved while in care. The Soc ial Worker also gave evidence of how Child 2 has

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