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Child in residential care refuses to attend addiction services, Social Work Department says they can't force him

TheJournal.ie spent a week observing cases in the Family Court.

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This story is part of a series on the Family Court which can be viewed here>>

AN APPLICATION TO extend an interim care order was granted by a court where the natural mother no longer lives in Ireland. The court heard that there had been incidences where the boy was on drugs and tested positive for amphetamines.

His social worker said that he had decided he did not want to attend the addiction services anymore, which was concerning to the boy’s grandparents.

The social worker said they too were “very concerned” about his drug taking.

The court heard that the boy lived in a residential home and that there had been a few incidences where he had broken the curfew. However, he had been behaving well recently.

He has been attending counselling and is being “very open and honest” in sessions, said his social worker.

The grandparents said they would like the boy to live with them. But, the social worker said it was the boy’s wishes to stay where he was and that he did not want to live with them.

The solicitor for the grandmother said she was concerned about her grandson leaving education and worried about the drug use. The court heard that she felt there was no proper supervision of her grandson and he was essentially allowed do what he wanted, saying she was critical that he was permitted to just leave the addiction services.

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She said she was afraid he would “fall out” of the school system.

The social worker said they were also concerned about the drug-taking but said that it was “very hard to force” a teenager to go somewhere or do something he doesn’t want to do.

“We can just encourage him to go,” said the social worker. She said there had been a special effort made to “get him out of bed” and make him have a shower, adding that he was “keeping to the boundaries”.

The court heard that the residential home said they will “keep him on” in the home until he is 19 years old so that he can stay in education. The grandmother said she wanted monthly reports on his progress so that she “knows what is going on”, adding that such reports had been delayed in the recent past.

The interim care order was extended with the judge adding that any young person taking drugs is concerning, but that as he was not in detention, it was not possible to order him to attend addiction services, but only encouragement could be given.

The judge said she wanted the grandparents to be kept up to speed on their grandson’s progress with monthly reports that were to be filed on time.

‘A Week in the Family Courts’ series will be running all this week on TheJournal.ie. 

Read: A Week in the Family Court: ‘There needs to be intervention before we reach crisis point’>

Read: A Week in the Family Court: 6,500 children are in care – here are some of their stories>

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