Health Service Executive -v- SM & anor (Change of Placement and Wishes of Child)

CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
JudgeHalpin J.
Judgment Date13 May 2010
Neutral Citation[2010] IEDC 1
Case OutcomeApproved
[2010] IEDC 1
AN CHUIRT DUICHE THE DISTRICT COURT
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE
APPLICANT
-AND-
SM & AM
RESPONDENTS
CHILD CARE ACT, 1991— SECTION 47
IN THE MATTER OF CHILD 1
13 May 2010
This is an Application grounded upon sec tion 47 of the Child Care Act, 1991 and moved by the Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”) for the
infant, Child 1, in respect of his placement and residency w herein the GAL requests that no c hange to plac ement take place at
present and the said Application is cont ested and opposed by the HSE.
Introduction
1. I believe that it is unnecess ary and superfluous to set out t he bac kground to this case because the issue of the Applicat ion is (a)
singularly based and is (b) not relevant t o the s ubstance of the Interim Care Order. Acc ordingly, I have, however, for t he sake of
comprehension, attached the GAL’s Report of 6 May 2009 to the Sc hedule of this dec ision. Also, I have included, in the schedule
hereto, a c opy of Social Worker 1’s Report dat ed 6 of May , on behalf of t he HSE cont esting the Application. The lat ter Report is very
much an emulation of t he Report of 5 February. Interest ingly, the “Place ment” component of the February Report is not in the May
Report other than t o say it is the subjec t of “a S.47 (CCA 1991)” application, namely this Application.
2. To address the issue, on 25 January 2009, Child 1, a young child under the c are of t he HSE, wrote a letter t o his GAL, in the
following terms:
“I don’t want t o move from Location 1 to Loc ation 2 because I feel se ttled here and Loc ation 2 is near where all my
cousins live and I have bad dea lings with them.
There’s only two other kids in Location 1 and it’s much quieter t han if I lived in Location 2 with 4 ot her kids.
I’ve gotten used to t he staf f here and I trust some of them. What’s the point of moving to Locat ion 2, I don’t know
any of t he staf f.
I’m happy enough to see my family on Wednesday and Sat urdays. I enjoy going out on my little t rips to swimming,
go-karting, pictures and shopping.
I don’t like Location 2. It is bes ide a rough area. I grew up in a rough area, I don’t want to go bac k to t hat.
Can you come to meet me to talk about t his Please?
From Child 1”
3. I have yet to s ee Child 1’s letter written to Soc ial Worker 1, but I suspect that in the main it express similar wishes or desires.
Initial Placement
4. Child 1 had been a resident in Locat ion 1 since 1 November 2008, and some three months later, in a Profess ions Meeting of 3
February 2009 the outc ome thereof outlined, in their view, what the main issues were, spec ifically:
• The Plac ement committee identified Locat ion 2 as an appropriate residential setting for Child 1. At the t ime of
Child 1 coming into ca re of the HSE, an alternative private residential unit was sought in the short term until a
vacanc y became available in Locat ion 2.
• A vac ancy be came available in Location 2 in January 2009 and Child 1 was informed of the move. Child 1 engaged
with the induct ion plan for the first two meetings but has since failed to engage in the last week.
• Child 1 has stated that he will abscond if he is moved to Loc ation 2 and his father has stat ed that Child 1 will just
run away to him. Father has s tated that Child 1 would be safer if he was left in Locat ion 1. However, the Soc ial
Work Department have never had issues with Child 1’s own safety , but rather t he level of c are his fat her was
providing for him on a daily basis due to mental health issues and drug-misuse.
• The Plan is for Soc ial Work and Location 2 st aff to meet with Mot her and Father and t o alleviate any f ears they
may have regarding Child 1’s move to Locat ion 2.
• Child 1 and his father are then going to be invited to Loc ation 2 to assess t heir conc erns that they have about
the move.
• It is the assessment of t he Soc ial Work Department that if Child 1’s father is agreeable to t he move to Loca tion 2,
consequently, Child 1 will agree to t he plan.
Decision to Change Placement
5. I have not seen any of the preparatory work which w as done prior to this meeting nor have I seen any minutes or resolutions of

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