Health Service Executive -v- TC & anor (Care Order - Parenting Capacity)

CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
JudgeToale J.
Judgment Date26 September 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] IEDC 15
Case OutcomeApproved
Docket NumberN/A
[2012] IEDC 15
26 September 2012
1. This is an applicat ion under section 18 of t he Child Care Act 1991 for a Care Order in respect of Child 1. T he application was heard
on 6 September 2012 and 24 September 2012. This dec ision was delivered on 26 September 2012.
2. A booklet of doc uments, prepared by the applicant , was rec eived. Evidence was heard from social worker 1, the psyc hologist, the
acc ess worker, soc ial worker 2, the mother (who is the first named respondent) and the guardian ad litem (“GAL”).
3. I have excluded t he letters and reports at t imes 11, 12, 13, and 14 of t he booklet of documents lodged.
4. Mother c onteste d the applicat ion. Father c onsented t o the applicat ion.
5. All parties and the GAL att ended and were legally represented at the hearing.
6. I make the following findings of fac t:
• Mother has been a ssessed by t he psyc hologist as having a mild to moderate learning disability and a global
memory deficit, whic h has a significant impact on her capac ity to provide an adequate and saf e level of parenting.
• Mother was unable t o meet Child 1’s basic needs aft er birth, and without t he support of the soc ial work
department, Child 1 would have been at a higher risk of neglect in the weeks following his birth.
• Child 1 requires a high level of c are in respect of his feeding/weight gain/medical follow-up which mother is not in
a position to provide.
• Mother shows litt le insight of the pot ential impact of her aggressive and violent behaviour on Child 1, her other
children, or other family members.
• Mother has limited understanding of the appropriate level of supervision and safet y awareness required when
looking aft er a young baby.
• Mother’s ability to provide basic care and supervision of Child 1 during access has not improved significantly
despite a high level of support f rom family support workers, public health nurses, acc ess workers, soc ial workers,
and other professionals.
• The exte nsive involvement of the soc ial work department with the mother’s family for a number of years has
illustrated mother’s lack of progress in respect of her parenting capac ity despite a wide range of support ava ilable
to her.
• This patt ern indicates t hat mother is unlikely to be able to provide a s afe and st able environment for Child 1 in
7. I am satisfied that while mother may have the motivation to care for Child 1, she lacks the c apacity to do so. I am satisfied that
appropriate supports have been off ered, and that there are no reasonable supports which have not been offered whic h would have
any realistic c hance of improving mother's capac ity to the extent t hat she c ould care fo r Child 1.
8. I have had t he benefit of the evidence of the GAL, who supports the applicat ion.
9. I am satisfied that in all the circumstances of the case t hat the making of c are order is a proportionate response.
10. I have no doubt mother ca n have a very important place in Child 1’s life, with t he support identified the psyc hologist and t he
support of her daughter.
11. I am satisfied that t he best interests and w elfare of Child 1 are best served by the making of a care order to the age of 18, and
that he requires care and protec tion that he is otherwise unlikely to receive unless t he c are order is made.
12. I therefore make a care order in respect of Child 1 until his 18th birthday on [date given].
13. After c are review on [dat e given] or the next business day.
14. In the event that there is no allocat ed social worker, in the ev ent that there is no fostering link social worker, in the e vent t he
child-care reviews are not held on t ime as set out in the regulations, or in the event of a plac ement to c hange, the c ase is to be re-
entered in Court by t he applicant and t he GAL (or an alternative GAL if this GAL is no longer in practice) t o be appointed.
15. Acc ess is to be in acc ordance w ith sect ion 37 of the Child Care Act 1991.

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