Health Service Executive -v- SG & anor (Care Order - Emotional Abuse and Neglect)

CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
JudgeHorgan P.
Judgment Date16 March 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] IEDC 6
Case OutcomeApproved
Date16 March 2012
[2012] IEDC 6
16 March 2012
Disposal on Consent
This is an application for a Care Order under section 18 of t he Child Care Act, 1991 in respect of a Child, aged t en.
1. The Child’s mother is the first named respondent and the Child’s father is t he second named respondent. T he parents are not
married to one anot her and do not reside toget her as a c ouple.
2. The mother is represented by s olicitor and counsel within these proceedings. His instructions are t hat the mother concedes t hat
the threshold c riteria of sect ion 18 are met in the cas e and that a full Care Order until the Child reaches 18 years of age is agreed to
provided that t here is a review hearing in September 2012 when his client w ill have c ompleted her residential alcohol treatment
3. The f ather is not represented in the proceedings and did not c ome to Court — alt hough he is aware of t he proceedings and was
properly served as evidenced by the Service Declarations on file and as per the evidence of the Soc ial Worker.
4. The HSE is represented by a solicitor who agrees t o the requirement of the review in September;
5. The c hild is represented in the procee dings by her Guardian ad Litem (GAL). The GAL supports t he HSE application for a full Care
Order but expresses conc erns in her GAL Report (largely focussing on t he foster plac ement permanency). T his foste r placement is a
private placement, which requires an applicat ion to be made by the HSE for funding grants t o support the plac ement every three
6. The HSE allegations of neglec t and emotional abuse of t he child are conceded.
7. A psyc hological evaluation of the mother indicates that she does not suffer from a learning difficulty. However she is resistant t o
psychological t reatment and support. In the psyc hologist’s professional opinion, this resistance prec ludes any prospect of positive
change in parenting. The psychologist note d further that without eff ective support and treatment, denial would persist in respect of
the mother’s alcohol dependence.
8. It is submitted by t he mother’s representat ives that she has now acc essed an alcohol treatment programme in February of this
year. The mother does not acc ept the c ontents of the psyc hologist’s report.
9. The Soc ial Worker gave evidence as per her reports at 1 Marc h 2012, as per Tab A 12 of the Booklet of Proc eedings, and as per
her report of 8 December 2011. In her professional opinion as outlined in her report, the Child’s health, development, and welfare
require the making of a full Care Order.
10. The GAL, gave ev idence of t he veracity of her report to Court on 5 March 2012. She endeavoured t o procure the w ishes and
feelings of the Child herself in respect of the matter. The c hild has not want ed to express a v ery direct view (page 26 GAL Report)
but she has e xpressed that she is v ery happy with her c urrent placement. She is happy in all aspect s of her life and looking forward
to going to s chool. She discuss es worrying things with her foster c arer and never experienced the potential for suc h discussions with
her mother. She suffered from insecure attac hment when she c ame into care and was a mbivalent in her atta chment due to her
loyalty to her mother and unce rtainty that she would be returned to her care. T his attac hment disorder was manifest in many ways
such as s miling inappropriately when her mother was angry with her etc . Now, however, she is clearly developing a sec ure att achment
with her foste r mother and this is obvious to her fost er carer and others in her life. She say s she is very exc ited about st aying with
her current fost er carer until she is 18 years old. Beca use her mother was more appropriate on the last acc ess visit, she expressed
the desire to see her mother twice per week — she previously saw her onc e per week. The Psychologist has a dvised that s ecurity in
the placement is pivota l for the psyc hological welfare of t his child. Her emotional security depends on her cont inuity of care; she has
been with her c urrent foster c arer since she c ame into HSE care and this st ability has been the dec iding fact or in her attac hment
Section 18 Threshold Criteria
11. Having read the reports and booklets furnished, the GAL report, and t he evidence of Soc ial Worker 1 and the GAL, and having
listened to all submissions I am satisfied that the threshold criteria of sec tion 18(1)(a), (b), a nd (c) are met in this c ase and I am
satisfied that a full Care Order is a proportionate response t o the t riggering of the threshold criteria in this case . The Care Order in
respect of the Child should continue until she is 18 yea rs on the [dat e given] with a Court Review on 24 Sept ember 2012 by c onsent
of all parties.
12. Acc ess to be at the discret ion of the HSE and within the parameters of sect ion 37 of the Child Care Act 1991. Frequency of
acc ess is to be within the parameters agreed bet ween the part ies and must meet the needs t he Child and take into acc ount her
expressed views. The Acc ess Application of mother is to be adjourned to 24 September 2012.
13. The c urrent Care plan meets needs of t he Child acc ording to GAL but may need to be reviewed in Septe mber.
Section 47 Directions

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