IEDC 21
AN CHUIRT DUICHE THE DISTRICT COURT
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE
YB & GB
CHILD CARE ACT, 1991— SECTION 18 AND 19
IN THE MATTER OF CHILD 1
14 November 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, aged 17, heard on 7–9 November 2012. Child 1 is currently in the care of the Health Servic e Executive (“HSE”).
Child 1 was first admitted to t he c are of the HSE pursuant to an application for an Emergency Care Order on 23 February 2012 and
subject t o an Interim Care Order on 1 March 2012 which was extended on 13 oc casions.
2. Child 1 was represented in these proceedings by her Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”) who was legally represented in t hese proceedings.
The GAL indicated t o the Court her support for a Care Order in respect o f the c hild and recommended such Order for the full duration.
3. The HSE was also legally represented in these procee dings by their solicitor.
4. The mother, who is t he first named respondent, att ended Court and was legally represented. She indicated her opposition t o the
making of a Care Order and noted her aim to have Child 1 returned to her c are.
5. The f ather, who is t he second named respondent, at tended Court and was legally represented by his solicitor and barrister. He
indicated his opposition to the making of a Care Order and noted his aim to have Child 1 returned to his care.
6. I am satisfied that the parents hav e been properly served with notic e of the proceedings and t hat in Child 1’s interests the matte r
7. I am satisfied that the [District given] has jurisdict ion to deal with t he cas e.
8. Counsel for both respondents o bjected t o all reports in the Booklet of Evidenc e being submitte d to t he Court, with t he except ion of
the psyc hological reports.
9. In support of t his application, I have heard evidence of the Social Worker 1; Social Worker 2; Consultant Neurologist 1; Consultant
Neurologist 2; and t he Medical Soc ial Worker.
10. Opposing this application, I have heard the evidence of the parents.
11. This ca se involves a young person, Child 1, aged 17 years, w ho first ca me to the at tention of the HSE on 7 November 2011 (when
she was t hen aged 16 years of age) in circumstances where she presented t o the Hospital with a wrist injury for which she wa s
unable to give a sat isfac tory explanation. She further c ame to att ention in December 2011 due to her inc onsistent explanations for
her wrist injury and her father’s verbal aggression to hospital staf f. She was further admitted to Hospital in January 2012 suffering
from an epileptic episode. She was lat er admitte d to Hospital in February 2012 with limited mobility in her left hand and difficulty
walking. She was att ended by Consultant Neurologist 1 who ruled out any s tructural or organic c ause for t hese difficulties and in
whose opinion underlying stressors may have prec ipitated the c ondition, perhaps related t o a fear of injury from her father as Child 1
had disclosed to Consultant Neurologist 1 that her father hit her and that she was fearful of returning home. This diagnosis was
confirmed and supported by Consultant Neurologist 2. These disclosures were also made by Child 1 to soc ial workers who have given
evidence t hat Child 1 described being hit by her fat her since age 15 on her fa ce, nec k, and bac k, reiterated her fear of going home
and her conc ern for her mother and brother due to her father’s anger. T hese disclosures were raised with Child 1’s parents at
meetings in February 2012 where at times her parents engaged calmly and construc tively and where at times her father showed
aggression to medical staff and child protect ion workers. Subsequent to a meeting with her parents in the hospital on 23 F ebruary
2012, an Emergency Care Order was applied for and granted; subsequently, an Interim Care Order was applied for on 1 Marc h 2012
and extended by t he Court on 13 occ asions since that dat e.
12. Child 1 is the eldest of the parents’ t wo children and is a vulnerable young person, with a general and spec ific learning difficulty.
She is in mainstream school where she is st udying for her Leaving Certificate. Since her rece ption into ca re, Child 1 has been placed
with a fost er family some distanc e from her home. Child 1 settled into her fos ter placement well with her func tional disorder symptoms
resolving completely on review by her consultant in June 2012. Child 1 has c onsistently st ated to soc ial workers and her GAL that it is
her desire to return to her f amily as she believes her f ather has c hanged and will not hit her again. Child 1 was recently admitted to
Hospital with a re-oc currence of her funct ional disorder. The reason for this re-oc currence is not c lear, and may be subsequent to an
incident on a t rain on which she was t ravelling. Child 1 has dec lined all offers of afte rcare including support from Focus Ireland
Afterc are Service and a Y AP worker.
13. The parents and their two c hildren are from Country 1 and moved to Ireland four years ago. T he fat her is unemployed as is t he
mother who has also recently undergone surgery to remove a brain tumour. The family’s support base is comprised of their friends and
church. T he fat her has admitted to hitt ing Child 1 on 3 oc casions bet ween Septe mber 2011 and February 2012. The mother has
admitte d to being aware of only one of t hese incidents whic h she stat es she did not witness. Both parent s suggest t hese incidents
were due to stress t he family was experiencing subsequent to moving country, being unemployed, experiencing a number of deaths in
their family in Country 1, and c oping with the mother’s serious illness and Child 1’s epilepsy and funct ional disorder and various
admissions into hospital.
14. The parents’ engagement with s ocial work professionals has been difficult s ince Child 1’s reception into c are. The f ather has