Health Service Executive -v- RB & anor (Care Order - CSA Allegations)

CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
JudgeHorgan P.
Judgment Date30 September 2011
Neutral Citation[2011] IEDC 5
Case OutcomeApproved
Date30 September 2011
[2011] IEDC 5
1. This c ase c oncerns an applicat ion for a Care Order in respect of a seven- year-old girl, Child 3. Child 3 has been diagnosed as
having a speech a nd language delay although her cognitive ability appears to be within the av erage range. She currently exhibits
emotional and behavioural disturbance. She present ed to t he psychologist assessing her needs under the As sessment of Needs
Disability Ac t 2005 as a c hild who has difficulty regulating and managing her emotions. Her style of interaction was described as
controlling, domineering, and rigid which is symptomatic of a child who feels distresse d, insecure, and under threat .
2. Child 3 came to the a ttent ion of the HSE at the t ime of her birth in July 2004. It appeared t o the hospital st aff that t he baby c ried
a lot and t hat her mother, the sec ond named respondent, who was aged 36 at t hat t ime and was a single parent who lacked supports
in her local area. Furthermore, she had four other children: Child 1, who is 9 years old; Child 2, who is 8 years old; Child 4, who is 6
years old; and Child 5, who is 4 years old.
3. The f irst named respondent to these proceedings is Child 3’s biological fat her. He is a joint cust odian of Child 3 but has not bee n
appointed as her legal Guardian. He was legally represented in t he proceedings and supported t he HSE’s application for a Care Order
under section 18 of the Child Care Act , 1991 until Child 3 reaches 18 years of age.
4. The se cond named respondent to t hese procee dings is Child 3’s mother. Mother is engaged to be married to t he father of Child 4
and Child 5 and the couple c ohabit toget her. Mother was represented in these proc eedings by solicitor and c ounsel.
5. The f ather of bot h Child 1 and Child 2 did not feat ure in these proc eedings in any capac ity.
6. The f ather of Child 4 and Child 5 was called to give evidence on behalf of mother and was not otherwise represented in thes e
7. Child 3 was appointed a Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”) in these proceedings and the GAL was s eparately represented by her solicitor.
8. Mother, t hrough her legal team, strongly opposed t he making of the Care Order. The Court was advised that all key fact s were in
issue and no reports would be admitted without formal proof. T he Court was present ed with a large A4 Folder containing over 43
reports. On day 3 of the hearing, counsel for mother ac cepte d the c ontents of Psyc hologists 1’s report.
9. Psyc hologist 1’s qualification and experience include long clinical practic e and many academic qualifications. She gav e extensive
evidence of her diagnosis, following comprehensive psychometric t esting, that mother’s level of cognitive f unctioning lays well within
the mild range of intellec tual disability. Her opinion was t hat mother requires considerable support in her own right as well as in her
role of mother. The level of as sistance required by mother to maintain a good enough level of parenting was that she would need 24
hour support seven days a week.
10. The diagnosis arrived at by Ps ychologist 1 was not ac cepted by mother, Child 4 and 5’s father (her current partner), or t he
children’s grandmother and who gave evidenc e on her behalf. Mother’s sist er also gave evidence on her behalf but believed t hat if t he
diagnosis was correct then adequate st ructured help would assist her siste r in caring for Child 3 within her family and she did not
require to be placed in the care of the HSE.
11. No evidence was introduced to challenge the diagnosis or prognosis of Psyc hologist 1.
12. The evidenc e ce ntred on:
(a) Alleged neglect of Child 3 while in the care of her mother; and
(b) Emotional abuse of Child 3 arising from repeated allegations of child sexual abuse which mother made from
October 2008 until November 2009.
13. In support of the application, the f ollowing reports we re submitted:
I. Medical:
a) Psyc hological Report of Psyc hologist 2, dated 19 Oc tober 2005 (regarding mother);
b) Paediatric Report of the Paediatrician, dat ed 21 April 2009 (regarding F);
c) T reatment Unit Report of Psyc hologist 3 (regarding allegations of CSA);
d) Psyc hological Report of Psychologist 4, dated 24 November 2009 (Behavioural assessment of Child 3);
e) Psyc hiatric Reports of Psy chiatrist 1, dat ed 20 October 2010 and 12 January 2011 (regarding mother);

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