Health Service Executive -v- CC & anor (Drug Addictions)

CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
JudgeDaly J.
Judgment Date08 October 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] IEDC 17
Case OutcomeApproved
Date08 October 2012
[2012] IEDC 17
8 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 Child 5 heard on 8 October 2012. Child 5 is currently in the c are of t he Health Service Exec utive (HSE). Child 5 was
admitte d to t he care of the HSE pursuant to an application for an Interim Care Order on 28 of March 2011, which was ext ended on six
occ asions.
2. Child 5 was represented in these proceedings by her Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”) The GAL indicated t o the Court her support for a
Care Order in respect of t he child and recommended that suc h a Care Order be for the f ull duration.
3. Neither the mother, who is the first named respondent, nor the fat her, who is the se cond named respondent att ended Court;
however, their legal representative w as present and indicat ed the e fforts t hat had been made to have the parent s att end the Court.
The HSE gave ev idence of se rvice of t he proceedings on bot h parents by ordinary post. I am satisfied t hat bot h parents were
properly served with notice of the proc eedings and that in Child 5’s interests, the matter should procee d.
4. The Court, on 24 September 2012, made an Order pursuant to sec tion 23 admitting into evidence st atements made by Child 1 (an
older sibling of Child 5) to t he Social Worker and I have taken it into consideration in determining these proceedings.
5. I have heard evidence from the Social Worker who has been involved with t he family since June 2009. She confirmed and adopted
her report at T ab 6 of t he Booklet of Evidence and gav e evidence of the admitted drug misuse by both parents on various occa sions
in the past and conc erns of their ongoing drug misuse and in particular the mother’s current poor motivation to address her drug
misuse. She also gav e evidence of disclosures by t he siblings who are currently in care of Child 5 of severe neglect and emotional
abuse by both parent s including, inter alia, exposure to t he parents’ drug use, children being left alone, poor sc hool attendanc e,
emotional abuse, and physical disciplining of t he children. She expressed conc erns that Child 5’s needs would not be met by the
parents in the immediate or long-t erm future. She gave evidence that a cc ess has been reduc ed on two occ asions and that the
parents are oft en late for sc heduled acc ess visits but c onfirmed that the HSE will continue to work with the parents around acc ess,
acc ommodation, and drug treatment supports. She also gave evidence that the fost er placement for Child 5, who is an infant, is
working well where she is plac ed with t wo of her siblings and that w ork would continue with the foster family around Child 5’s identity
and to fac ilitate s ibling and extended family acc ess.
6. I have heard evidence of the Drug Liaison Midwife. He adopted his reports at Tabs 19 and 20 of the Booklet of Evidenc e and gave
evidence of the mother’s disclosure of using heroin while pregnant with the infant Child 5 and how her ante -natal at tendance was
initially poor but did increase in her late trimester. He gave evidence that an in-patient st abilisation programme was of fered to t he
mother but she failed to at tend pre-admission appointments. He gave evidence that t he mother continued t o act ively use heroin
during her pregnancy wit h the infant Child 5, but t hat she did stabilise somewhat under the care of her GP and appeared to reduce
her dosage. He gave evidenc e that the mother was aw are of the effec t of her use of heroin on her unborn child and that t he infant
Child 5 was born prematurely with neonatal abst inence sy ndrome requiring medical treatment.
7. I have heard the evidence of the mother’s and father’s GP. She adopted her reports at T abs 9, 10, 11, and 12 of the Booklet of
Evidence and provided most recent drug test result for the Court. She gave evidenc e that the parents attended her c linic today and
indicated an awareness of the court proc eedings. She gave evidenc e of her involvement with the mother since October 2011 when
the mother att ended for a methadone maintenance programme while pregnant with the infant Child 5. She gave evidence t hat at that
time the mother reported using heroin regularly and that the mother attended her c linic regularly but t ests showe d that she cont inued
to use opiat es and benzodiazepines. She gave evidence t hat her treat ment plan for the mother was to stabilize her on methadone
and that she recommended a residential treat ment programme and counselling services whic h the mother did not avail of but that she
did continue to attend t o her as an out-pat ient. She gave evidence t hat the mother is pregnant again and detox is not c onsidered as
an option at present; however, t he mother appears to be using non-presc ribed drugs less frequently and is using them in smaller
She gave evidenc e that the fa ther has only been at tending her clinic for a fe w months and that his urines c ontinue to be pos itive for
opiates. A refe rral has been made for him to counselling. She gave ev idence that the father has suc cessf ully detoxed in the past and
subsequently relapsed and that the mother has never suc cessfully detoxed. She gave ev idence that for both parents to det ox in
future they would need to meaningfully engage with counselling and that at present t hey are att ending her clinic but are not
attending for c ounselling.
8. I have heard the evidence of the GAL. She gave e vidence of her involvement with t his family and the infant Child 5’s four older
siblings since 2008. She gave evidence of disclosures of neglec t by the older siblings in similar terms as set our in Paragraph 5 above.
She gave evidenc e of at tending at t he infant Child 5’s pre-birth case conferenc e and formed the opinion that t he mother could not
put her unborn child’s needs before her own drug use. She gave evidence of how sick t he infant Child 5 was aft er birth and that t he
mother did not appear to be frightened by this. She gave her opinion that the parents, while they are using drugs, would not be in a
position to c are for any of the c hildren — even if they we re on a methadone maintenanc e programme. She gave evidence that t he
infant Child 5 is now a happy baby and doing well and approved her c urrent foster placement. She advised that while the parents do
not like the fost er parents, t he recommendations made by the Soc ial Worker to improve this relationship should be carried out. She
gave evidence that she is satisfied wit h the level of a cc ess betw een the infant Child 5 and her parents and her siblings at present.
She advised the Court that in her opinion a Care Order is required in this c ase.

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