Health Service Executive -v- B (Care Order on Consent - Homelessness & Addictions)

CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
JudgeHorgan P.
Judgment Date22 January 2013
Neutral Citation[2013] IEDC 2
Case OutcomeApproved
[2013] IEDC 2
22 January 2013
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 9 months.
2. The Child’s mother is the respondent and she is present in Court and legally represented by her solicitor and c ounsel.
3. The Child’s father is not present in Court and has not participated in t he proceedings. He is not a legal Guardian to t he Child. I am
satisfied by reason of the St atutory Declarations filed in Court that he has been properly served and is fully aware of t he nature of
the procee dings listed for hearing.
4. The Child was appointed a Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”) to represent t he Child’s separate interest in the proceedings. T he GAL is
present and is legally represented.
5. An Interim Care Order was made in respect of the Child in March 2012, shortly aft er his birth.
6. The Respondent mother has been known t o the HSE for a c onsiderable period having had extensive involvement with Soc ial
Services in Country 1 and subsequent ly with the HSE. T he Respondent mother has suffered c onsiderable levels of stress and distress
in her life since in or around 1989. Her personal relationships have been tumultuous and she has experienced violence wit hin these
relationships. She has given birth to seve n children. HSE interventions were insufficient t o prevent her four youngest children coming
into HSE care in May 2006. One of the c hildren spent a period in Special Care. Tragically, her first born son died in 2010. The following
year, the Applicant mother lost her own mother. Over the ye ars, extensive support servic es have been o ffered to the Respondent
mother and her children but were insufficient to address HSE conce rns around substance abuse, mental health difficulties, and poor
school at tendance by the c hildren, and inadequate poor boundaries set for the children.
7. The HSE ente red into a ‘Contract ’ with the Applicant mother and the Child’s father aft er the making of the Interim Care Order. This
involved agreements regarding acc ess and participation in a parental capac ity assessment. The parents were unable to t ake up
agreed acc ess with the Child since Oct ober 2012, resulting in the arrangements for ac cess being suspended. The Interim Care Order
has been extended on 19 oc casions to the date of this hearing. There is a poor relationship between t he Respondent mother and the
HSE although each has a different percept ion of the c ause for this poor relationship.
8. The HSE now bring this application for a full Care Order on the basis that the Child’s health, development, and welfare has been
avoidably impaired or neglected and is likely to be av oidably impaired or neglected if the Child is returned at this time to the care of
his mother.
9. The t hreshold fact s for the making of a Care Order have been set out by t he HSE and foc us on the c hild’s neo-natal experience of
harm, his poor birth weight, his inability to tolerat e food or feeding, his ongoing developmental difficulties, the inability of t he
Respondent mother to provide him with c onsistent c are by virtue of instability in her life, mental health difficulties and
alcohol/substance misuse, inadequate engagement with acc ess and inadequate engagement with the parental c apacity assessment.
Counsel representing the mother has conc eded many of proposed findings of fact set out formally by the HSE. The Court has been
advised that she does not oppose the grant ing of the Care Order.
10. The Court heard evidenc e from the following:
• the GP;
• the Medic al Social Worker;
• Social Worker 1;
• the Garda;
• Social Worker 2;
• the Paediat rician;
• the GAL; and
• the mother.
Evidence of the GP
11. The GP gave oral evidenc e regarding the Reports received by her from the c hild’s Consultant Paediatrician, and her Registrar as
set out at Appendix 16 of the Booklet of Reports furnished to Court. T hese Reports address the conc erns for this child at birth when it
was noted that he was 3 st andard deviations below the norm for weight. Urine toxicology carried out on t he baby revealed opiat es

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