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Court rules home extension be built so 'inseparable' siblings in care could stay together

The case is outlined in the lastest volume of the Child Care Law Reporting Project.

Image: gavel via tteeeShu

A COURT ORDERED the Child and Family Agency to arrange for an extension to be built on to a home so that two siblings in care could stay together.

The case is detailed in the latest Child Care Law Reporting Project, which details 24 separate cases.

The report has also published Court Service data for last year, which shows a fall in the number of child care applications sought, down 601 from 2012 to 8,714.

This was mainly accounted for by a fall in the number of care orders.

Cases in Dublin and Cork made up half of all applications, with significant numbers in Limerick, Wexford, and Waterford, while Galway had just 188.

There were also significant variations in the number of cases between towns a similar size, potentially due to different reporting practices, the report said.

In one notable example outlined in the report, a case involving two children in care came up for review before a judge in a rural town.

The children’s mother had two other children in care from a separate father.

The siblings’ current foster arrangements were ‘breaking down’ due to their behaviour.

A psychologist found that the younger child was performing well in school, but was “the most angry person in the house”, with the child unable to identify anyone he loved.

The court heard that siblings had a strong bond and there would be life-long effects if they were separated.

During the proceedings, a close relative came forward and said she would like to take the children into her care, but that she had no room in her house.

After talks between the childrens’ family, the relatives, and the Child and Family Agency, the judge ruled that the children must stay together, and that they would be placed into the care of the relative ‘subject to the appropriate funding being authorised by the CFA for any relevant construction work for housing’.

“Isn’t that the solution?” the judge asked, according to the report.

My firm view is that the two children should be kept together. They should be moved from their current placement. The relatives have said they would love to have them. Is there any possibility, considering the cost to the State of these two little children, that funds could be made available to the close relatives to build an extension? That is the ideal solution. It is time to talk.

Other cases outlined in today’s report include:

  • Where children suffered from severe mental health problems and the Child and Family Agency sought orders to detain them in residential care
  • A case where five children, all under the age of six, were taken into care when they made allegations of having been seriously sexually and physically abused by their parents and others.
  • Three cases where the parents agreed to long-term Care Orders for their children
  • Two where parents had ‘special vulnerabilities’, and in the third the child had very complex needs that the parents did not think they could meet.

A Week in the Family Court: ‘Urgent change’ needed as reform proposals made 18 years ago not acted upon >

Read: The aftermath of relationship breakdowns >

More: Two children returned to mother after three years in care >

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Nicky Ryan

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