Health Service Executive -v- AD & anor (Drug and Physical Abuse)

CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
JudgeDaly J.
Judgment Date24 October 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] IEDC 18
Case OutcomeApproved
Date24 October 2012
[2012] IEDC 18
24 OCTOBER 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 a c hild, Child 4, heard on 24 October 2012. Child 4 is currently in the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE). Child 4
was admitted to the c are of the HSE pursuant to an applicat ion for an Interim Care Order on 17 November 2011 which has been
extended by the Court on nine occ asions since t hat date.
2. Child 4 was represented in these proceedings by her Guardian Ad Litem. T he Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) indicated t o the Court his
support for a Care Order in respect of the child and recommended such Order for the full duration.
3. Child 4’s mother, the f irst named respondent, attended Court and was legally represented. She ac knowledged her continuing
difficulties and need for on- going support and indicated her c onsent to the making of a Care Order and noted her ultimate aim to have
Child 4 returned to her care.
4. Child 4’s father, the sec ond named respondent, did not at tend Court, howev er, his legal representative was present and indicated
the eff orts that had been made to have him att end at t he Court and that he was aware of t he proceedings. His legal representative
was allowed by t he Court to a ttend and obs erve the proc eedings.
5. I am satisfied that both parents have been properly served with notic e of t he proceedings and that in the c hild’s interests the
matter should proceed.
6. I have heard the evidence of Social Worker 1 who has been involved with t he mother since in or around 2000. She confirmed and
adopted her report at Tab 7 of the Booklet of Evidenc e. She gave evidence of the pat tern of significant risk which resulted in the
mother’s three older children coming into care, w hich included her alcohol and drug misuse, her history of violent relationships, her
unsuitable acc ommodation, her chaotic lifestyle, her mental health and self harming problems, and her neglect of her 3 older children.
She gave evidenc e that she would have similar conc erns for the mother’s care of Child 4. The Soc ial Worker gave evidence of the
efforts made to keep the 3 older children in the mother’s care and the supports offered t o her including a residential detoxification
programme which w as not suc cessful.
Social Worker 1 pointed out t hat the mother is a good person who loves her children but she c ould not c ontrol her personal
circumstances sufficiently t o sustain c are of her c hildren.
Social Worker 1 gave evidence of the mother’s cont inued drug use while pregnant with Child 1 which was admitted by t he mother and
confirmed by the results of her urine analysis.
Social Worker 1 gave evidence of her interact ion with the f ather before t he birth of Child 4 and described how he did not disc lose his
prior involvement with the HSE with regard to his older child being taken into full-time care.
Social Worker 1 gave evidence that t he mother has not had c ontact wit h her older children since 2008 and for this acc ess to resume
the mother would need to show indicators of st ability and motivation.
7. I have heard the evidence of Social Worker 2. She adopted her report at Tabs 5 of the Booklet of Evidence. She gave evidence of
the primary reasons for making a care application in respec t of Child 4 in November 2011 as being the mother’s drug addiction and the
father’s aggression. She gave evidence of the mother’s positive drug tests in October 2011, immediately prior to Child 4’s birth, and
evidence of how the mother has st ruggled with her addiction and that while she believes the mother wants to st abilise and the
mother’s attendance at her c linic is good there is evidence of only very little progress. She noted t hat up to February 2012, the
mother was test ing positive for opiates and referred t o reports at Tab 8 of the Booklet of Evidence. She also outlined her conc erns
regarding the mother’s mental health and the ef forts made to link the mother with c ounselling services through her drug treatment
clinic and with psyc hiatric se rvices. She gave evidence t hat t he HSE will help the mother in every possible way but she w ill need to
engage with the HSE.
Social Worker 2 gave evidence of the f ather’s history of involvement with t he Social Work Department and her concerns t hat Child 4
would be in danger of experiencing or witnessing domestic violence and abuse if the fat her and the mother were to parent Child 4
together. Soc ial Worker 2 gave evidence o f the f ather’s history of domestic violence with his previous partner and with f amily
members and evidence of a ssaults on t he mother in March and September 2012 and another incident at her ac commodation in July
2012 and an incident of aggression at acc ess with Child 1. She gave evidence of the fa ther’s history of drug use and her belief t hat
the fat her appears to be test ing negatively for drugs at present. She gave ev idence that the f ather has at times indicated mental
health difficulties and t hat he has been referred to c ounselling and medical services for this and he has also be en referred to a c linic
for anger management support but t hat it has been difficult to get the fat her to e ngage with services. She stat ed her concern
regarding the father’s aggression and violence, whic h had increased since last year.
Social Worker 2 gave evidence that a cc ess betw een the parents and Child 4 was initially positive, with the mother being very ca pable
of responding to Child 4’s needs; and while the fat her found it more difficult, he did try. S he gave evidence that acc ess ceased in
January 2012 and was resumed but was inconsistent until acc ess was suspended afte r the fat her’s assault on the mother in March
2012. Acce ss was t hen referred to a supervised centre and resumed separately by t he parents in May 2012. The mother had two

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