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Child care court reports show drug abuse, violence and mental illness

The reports are published on the Child Law Project website, which was launched earlier this year.


A WEBSITE THAT documents child care cases from Irish courts has published its latest round of reports.

According to Project Director, Dr Carol Coulter, the second volume of case reports to be published by the Child Care Law Reporting Project:

shows that the problems highlighted in the first volume, of alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness and domestic violence, affect families in all parts of the country.

The cases include the granting of a Care Order for an African teenager who was abandoned in Ireland by her parents; a care order for a child who suffered a non-accidental injury, and a High Court request that the English courts take charge of cases involving English babies born in Ireland.

The 30 new cases come from all over the country but none of them contain information that identifies the families involved.

The cases include alcohol abuse, drug abuse and mental illness, and many describe one or two hearings in a lengthy process that involves the HSE giving updates on the situation of the child and family.

In one case the court only made a Full Care Order for five months because it was not satisfied that an adequate care plan had been drawn up for the child. In another case, the court ordered the HSE to provide a special needs assistant (SNA) for a child in order to help him integrate into his school; in yet another, the court ordered the HSE to provide speech and language therapy “forthwith” for a child who needed it.

In one case, a 10-year-old boy was sent to a residential centre due to his disturbing behaviour, but after two years was sent to a foster family. The court heard that he was doing well in school and his parents and foster family were cooperating in helping him.

In another case, a Care Order for a teenage boy was discharged and he went home under a Supervision Order that required his step-father not to assault or otherwise mistreat him.

Newborn baby of drug addict taken into care

The HSE took a week-old infant into care while it was still in the maternity hospital, after her mother, a drug addict, discharged herself and left the baby in the hospital.

The HSE did not know where she had gone and she already had an older child in care. The baby showed symptoms of drug withdrawal. The child’s father had been living with the mother in homeless accommodation, but the baby could not live there.

The court granted an interim care order.

Abandoned teen taken into care

A teenage African girl was left alone in Ireland by her mother, who wrote to her school principal asking him to find someone to look after her. The principal contacted the HSE. The girl’s father was in Europe but was not contactable by the HSE.

The court heard that the girl had been left by her mother in a house occupied by two men she did not know. The girl was taken into care, and wanted to stay with her foster parents.

The girl said she was angry with her parents and wanted to stay in Ireland, and wrote to the judge expressing her views. The judge made a Care Order until she was 18, which meant she could stay with the foster family.

Further reports will be published during the year, along with other relevant material on the child protection system as revealed in our courts.

The reports are available on www.childlawproject.ie.

Read: Why do children end up in care in Ireland?>

Read: Website to publish court reports on child care cases>

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