Interim care order given for infant whose siblings were abused and neglected

Older siblings had protected younger children while living at home, court told

Judge Marie Quirke was told an infant at the centre of an interim care order had older siblings in the care of the State for more than three years. Photograph: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland.

Judge Marie Quirke was told an infant at the centre of an interim care order had older siblings in the care of the State for more than three years. Photograph: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland.

Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 01:01

The Child and Family Agency has been given an interim care order at the Dublin District Family Court for an infant whose older siblings were physically abused and neglected by their parents.

And in a separate case, a teenager who, along with her siblings, was “really damaged” before coming into care, has been placed in a secure unit for the third time in two years.

Judge Marie Quirke was told an infant at the centre of an interim care order had older siblings in the care of the State for more than three years. They had each made disclosures of physical abuse and neglect perpetrated by their parents.

The parents had regular access with the infant, the court heard, but it was suspended recently after the father appeared at one access meeting under the influence of alcohol and was arguing and shouting.

Threats made

The social worker said the father had made threats that he would take the baby and, previously, he had obtained the phone numbers of the foster parents of two of the other children and had called them repeatedly through the night.

She said access would not be reinstated until the parents had attended a meeting with the agency to address the issues.

‘Behavioural difficulties’

She also said the older siblings, who have “significant emotional and behavioural difficulties”, would be introduced to the infant in the near future. They had already been told of his existence and the older children were concerned the baby might be sent home to the parents.

“They wanted to be sure he was okay,” the social worker said. They had protected their younger siblings while living at home.

The social worker said the parents would not acknowledge the harm they had done to the older children and this was an “insurmountable obstacle” in the case.

The solicitor for the parents said his clients wanted to resume access and asked that the meeting with the agency be held quickly. He also said the parents “were adamant” that the baby should not be introduced to his siblings before their access was restored. And he said the parents had prepared a written response to the findings made against them.

The judge said the parents would have to attend a meeting with the agency before access could be resumed. She also said the scheduled meeting with the children could go ahead as planned and she extended the interim care order for four weeks.

Separately, a teenager in care for more than five years was placed in secure care for the third time in two years.

The court was told by the time she and her siblings came into care, they were already “really damaged by their upbringing”. And the teenager had also been the victim of a sexual assault. The judge adjourned the case to September.