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Court told of 'serious implications' if child who has had 'multiple foster homes' is moved again

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>>

A CASE INVOLVING a young girl who had been in multiple foster homes from a young age appeared before a judge.

The court was told that the child was currently in foster care and the foster parents had agreed to take the child on long-term, however, they then “changed their mind”.

The Child and Family Agency (CFA) solicitor said they had since changed their minds again and were now willing to take on the young girl. He described it as a very “delicate” situation. An investigation is now needed into whether the placement can go ahead, he added.

The judge asked why the foster parents had pulled out of the arrangement. The solicitor said they had served notice on the parents, but then they changed their mind at the last minute. It was said extra supports were then put in place with the court hearing that it was a “good placement” that can serve the girl’s interests.

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The guardian for the child, appointed by the court, said that they were “very concerned”.

“There have been multiple moves at a very young age,” said the guardian.

The child does have access to her mother and these visits were having a good impact.

“If she goes into another placement and this breaks down age 9, 10 or 11 there could be very serious implications,” they said.

The guardian recommended that a recreational specialist unit would be the best and most stable place for the child, stating that it might even be the best option to place the child in a specific therapeutic centre in the UK.

“The level of need is so great and the damage done in the early years has had such an impact that the option has to be looked at,” she said.

She said that Irish services would also be looked at, “but that is how serious this situation is,” she said.

The judge said: “If the placement is under pressure because of behavioural issues then that family has to be supported,” adding that investigations had to be carried out as to what the best residential setting was for the child stating that a psychological assessment would be a starting point.

The case was put back for re-entry for later in the month.

‘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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