IEDC 24
AN CHUIRT DUICHE THE DISTRICT COURT
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE
CHILD CARE ACT 1991 — SECTION 18
IN THE MATTER OF CHILD 1
21 November 2012
This decision was delivered ex tempore on 21 November 2012 and the written dec ision was c irculated to t he parties on 18 Dece mber
1. This is an applicat ion for a Care Order under section 18 of t he Child Care Act, 1991 (hereafter referred to as ‘the 1991 Act’) in
respect of Child 1, heard on 19–21 November 2012. Child 1 is currently in the c are of the Health Service Exec utive (“HSE”). Child 1
was admitted to the c are of the HSE pursuant to an applicat ion for an Interim Care Order on 7 October 2011. T he Interim Care Order
has been extended by the Court on 30 oc casions since that date.
2. The HSE was legally represented in these proceedings.
3. Child 1’s interest in these proce edings was represented by his Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”) who was legally represented. The GAL
indicated to the Court her support f or a Care Order in respect of Child 1 and recommended that t he Care Order be for the full duration
until Child 1 is 18 years of age.
4. The respondent mother was represented in these proc eedings by her barrister and solicitor.
5. I am satisfied that the mother has been properly served with not ice of t he proceedings and t hat in Child 1’s interests, t he matter
6. I am satisfied that the [District given] has jurisdict ion to deal with t his case.
7. I have heard the evidence of the Psyc hologist. She c onfirmed and swore the cont ents of her report and gave evidenc e of t he
developmental assessment she carried out on Child 1 in 2010. She noted that Child 1 is a bright child with severe spee ch and
language delay and gave evidence of the difficulties in engaging the mother with the a ssessment. She gave e vidence of her follow up
review of Child 1 in 2011 and noted his language skills had improved and her involvement ceased. She informally observed him a month
ago and was sa tisfied with his development.
8. I have heard the evidence of the c rèche worker. She c onfirmed and swore the content s of her letters for Court. She gave
evidence t hat t he mother had brought Child 1 to t he c rèche for 3 visits in November 2009 and that t he mother did not interact with
Child 1 or staff on t hese occ asions. She gave evidence t hat Child 1 returned betwee n July 2010 and August 2011 when his
grandmother appeared to be his primary carer and she built up good relations with s taff. She gave evidenc e of t he crèc he worker’s
initial concerns about Child 1’s communicat ion skills which improved over time with input from the Speec h and Language Therapist.
Child 1 has recently seemed like a happier child.
9. I have heard the evidence of the Speec h and Language Therapist. She confirmed and swore the c ontents of her reports. She gav e
evidence of Child 1 being referred in April 2010 and presenting with a significant speech and language delay. Her interventions with
Child 1’s grandmother and preschool resulted in Child 1 improving to being only moderately delayed in April 2012 and to be ing within
normal limits when he was reviewed in September 2012.
10. I have heard the ev idence of t he allocat ed Social Worker. She co nfirmed and swore the c ontents of her reports at Tabs 1, 2, and
3 of the Booklet of Evidence. She gav e evidence of the initial conc erns of t he Soc ial Work Department of the mother’s capacity t o
parent Child 1 and the c oncerns for the mother’s mental health. She gave evidence of the initial assessment of t he c ase which
resulted in social work intervention. She gave evidence of linking in with the Public Health Nurse, the psychiatrist, the c rèche, and t he
Speech and Language T herapist who all felt that Child 1’s needs were being met by his grandmother rather than his mother. She gave
evidence t hat Child 1’s grandmother was not unduly interfering with his day to day c are from the mother and that her intervent ion
was nec essary for Child 1. She gave evidenc e of t he difficulties in discuss ing the conc erns about her parenting with t he mother and
Child 1’s speec h and language problems. She gave evidence of the parenting c apacity assessment she c arried out on the mother
which indicated t hat she had a very limited ability or c apacity to parent Child 1 and had limited insight into her ow n difficulties and
that t he mother did not engage with t he social work services to improve her parenting capacit y. She gave evidence t hat the mother
had been diagnosed with sc hizophrenia but the mother did not acc ept this diagnosis and did not engage with mental health service s.
She gave evidenc e that the mother’s presentation det eriorated in September 2011 resulting in the application for Child 1 to be
brought into care in Oc tober 2011 and placed in fost er care wit h his maternal grandmother who has now been approved as a long-
term carer for Child 1. She gave evidence of the difficulty in engaging the mother with soc ial work and support services since Child 1’s
reception into c are and of the mother’s very threatening and abusive behaviour at times. She gave evidence of the efforts made to
arrange acce ss betwe en the mother and Child 1 and that ac cess did not ta ke place for 11 months until last week when s he agreed to
supervised acc ess, and t his acc ess was somewhat succ essful. She gave evidence of linking Child 1 with a Children’s Hospital with
regard to his febrile convulsions, which his grandmother and school are managing well. She gave evidence of a huge improvement with
Child 1 since his reception into c are. She summarised the grounds for seeking a c are order as the mother’s mental health problems
make her incredibly vulnerable, not open to support and make her unable to c are for Child 1 and Child 1 was neglected in her c are.
She gave evidenc e that the HSE will continue t o assist t he mother to ac cess supports but t his will require her to engage wit h the
HSE. She gave evidence of the efforts made to contac t Child 1’s fat her who is believed to be living somewhere in Country 1.
11. I have heard the ev idence of t he Social Work Team Leader. She gave evidence of her recent meeting with Chid 1 to discuss