Health Service Executive -v- NC (Care Order on Consent with Self-Regulated Access)

CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
JudgeHorgan P.
Judgment Date20 June 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] IEDC 12
Case OutcomeApproved
Date20 June 2012
[2012] IEDC 12
20 June 2012
1. This is an applicat ion for a Care Order under section 18 of t he Child Care Act, 1991 in respect of a Child, aged 7.
2. The parents are not married to one another and have not resided toget her as a c ouple since 2000 when the mother found herself
coping as a single parent of three boys t hen aged 6, 5, and 2 years of age.
3. The mother, who is t he Respondent, is separately represent ed within these proc eedings. The fa ther has c hosen not t o participate
in the proceedings.
4. The Child was appointed a Guardian Ad Litem on 28 June 2011 to represent his se parate interest in the proceedings. T he GAL is
also represented in the proc eedings.
5. The Child came into the voluntary care of the HSE in May 2002 and was plac ed in residential care for a period with his sibling
before being returned to t he care of his mother. Ultimately, the Child came bac k into the c are syste m following an Emergency Care
Order made in April, 2011 and subsequently an Inte rim Care Order was sought by t he HSE and granted by the Court on 8 April 2011.
The ICO has been ext ended on 11 occ asions before t he Care Hearing listed t oday.
6. The HSE brought this applicat ion on the basis t hat t he Child’s health, development, and welfare would be avoidably impaired if he
was removed from the Care of the HSE and his welfare required the making of the Order. He is a mature minor who wishes to remain in
his current placement in X Residential Unit.
7. The Court w as informed that the matte r would proceed on the consent of the mother; the father has nev er participated in the
8. A Soc ial Worker gave evidenc e as per her Reports at Tabs15- 26 of the Booklet of Evidenc e the f inal report to Court date d 11 June
and affirmed that the c ontents of same were t rue and acc urate and t hat her professional opinion was that the threshold c riteria were
met and continue t o be met under the heading of sec tion 18(1)(c). Moreover, the Child had expressed to her his desire t o remain in
his current placement. Her evidence was that the mother has expressed the view that she requires a longer period of stability in her
recovery before assuming full parenting of her children and that she has carefully c onsidered the wishes of t he Child.
9. The GAL expressed satisfac tion with the Care Plan proposed by t he HSE for the Child but remained concerned that there would be
a review to deal with Afte r Care for the Child and a Review in the eve nt of t he Breakdown of the Plac ement. The GAL ascert ained the
Child’s wishes with some difficulty in light of the matte rs set out in the final GAL Report to Court date d 31 May 2012. He had chec ked
again with the Child regarding his wishes and feelings to ensure that he was ac curately representing them and was satisfied t hat t he
Child wants to remain in his current placement and to regulate his own acc ess relationship with his mother, that he has a maturity
consistent with t his view, and he has a warm loving and loyal relationship with his mother.
Section 18 Threshold
10. Having read the reports and booklets furnished and the GAL Report and the evidence of the Soc ial Worker and the GAL, and
having the submissions received from the Respondent mother’s legal representative, I am satisfied that t he threshold criteria are met
under section 18(1)(c) and that having considered the evidenc e I am satisfied that the mother of t he Child consents t o this Order to
ensure that he can c ontinue in his current residential placement and that the making of a full care order is a nec essary and
proportionate intervention; therefore, the Care Order is to c ontinue until the Child reaches his 18th birthday.
Section 37 Access
11. I am satisfied that no order is required; as the matter of ac cess is self-regulated by the Child and his mother and that this is
mutually satisfa ctory and satisfac tory to the HSE also. T he parties have liberty t o apply to t he Court should circ umstanc es c hange.
Section 47 Directions
12. Pursuant to se ction 47, t he Court makes the following directions:
1. That the Case is Re-Entered before t he Court and the Guardian re-appointed four weeks befo re the date of re-
entry in the ev ent that
(a) the c ase becomes unallocated to a Soc ial Worker/Foste ring Link worker for a period of four weeks;
(b) A planned or unplanned change of fost er placement; in the c ase of a planned change of foste r
placement the re- entry and reappointment of the GAL should be in advance of t he act ual change of
placement. In the eve nt of an unplanned change of placement, t he reappointment and re-entry should
be as soon as practic able.
(c) Af ter Care Review (to c oincide with the Child’s 17th birthday) to asse ss Afte r Care Services and
funding provision [date given].
2. That the HSE provides all appropriate therapeutic intervent ions and services t o the Child tailored to meet his

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