Care order for children whose parents tried to take their own lives

Judge directs that Tusla help with mother and father with parenting skills

Tusla’s  solicitor said the agency’s ultimate aim is reunification of the children with their parents. Photograph: Alan Betson

Tusla’s solicitor said the agency’s ultimate aim is reunification of the children with their parents. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A judge has granted a care order to the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, in respect of two children after hearing both parents have recently tried to take their own lives.

In court, the judge granted the care order for six months after hearing one of the children – aged less than one year – sustained a fractured skull after he fell off a couch while in the care of his father.

At the outset of the case, the judge said he was concerned the couple did not have legal representation and the mother said: “I didn’t feel like we needed any.”

A social worker in the case told the court “this is clearly a very sad situation”.

She said that the couple’s baby boy sustained a skull fracture that required neuro-surgery to remove a brain clot.The social worker said the hospital felt that the injury occurred in context of poor supervision, but accepted that the injury was accidental.

She said that subsequent to the accident, the child’s mother tried to take her own life and the father was so distressed by this, he also tried to take his own life.

Both parents were in court for the application and the mother said she tried to take her own life after “a horrible time” from “sleeping in a car outside the hospital for three weeks wondering if my son was going to be brain damaged or not and I was being asked if was I mentally fit to be looking after my children”.

The children’s father told the court: “I just want to get the children back”.

The children have been in foster care for the past two weeks, with the parents granted liberal access.

Solicitor for Tusla said the agency was open to having a care order for four months but the mother told the court that she wasn’t prepared to consent to it. The solicitor said the ultimate aim of the Tusla is reunification of the children with their parents.

The judge said that he would make the care order for six months, but also directed that Tusla help the two with parenting skills; that bereavement counselling would be made available to the mother; that Tusla provide the appropriate medical assistance to the two parents and provide liberal access for both parents to the children during the six months.