Agency withdraws care order for ‘vulnerable’ teenager

Judge satisfied every effort made to engage with ‘extremely vulnerable young person’

Photograph: The judge was told the girl’s name would be placed on the “child protection register”. Photograph: Reuters

Photograph: The judge was told the girl’s name would be placed on the “child protection register”. Photograph: Reuters

 

The Child and Family Agency has withdrawn an application to extend an interim care order for a teenager with whom they were “achieving nothing”.

The girl’s court-appointed guardian had “very, very grave concerns” for the teenager, the Dublin District Family Court was told.

A solicitor for the agency told Judge Colin Daly every effort had been made to engage with the young person, but there was no reality to her staying in care as she hadn’t been in her placement since August.

At a child protection conference last week, it was decided the agency would not apply to extend the care order for her.

The judge was told the girl’s name would be placed on the “child protection register”, a notification system used for identification of children deemed to be at ongoing risk, and if she came into contact with other State services, the agency would be notified.

A solicitor for the girl’s mother said her client felt let down by the agency. She said a decision to take the teenager into care was made by the agency in February, but she was not taken into care until May, after she sought help. And though it was recommended the girl be found a rural foster family away from her locality, she was placed instead with a foster family close to where her father lived.

Grave concerns

The solicitor for the girl’s court-appointed guardian said her client had “very, very grave concerns” for the girl, who made “very important disclosures” when she was taken into care.

She said it was regrettable the decision to take the child into care in February was not acted on. She believed the teenager was now back living with her father.

The judge said he was satisfied every effort had been made to try to engage with this “extremely vulnerable young person”, but she had not engaged with her social worker or her guardian, or availed of supports offered to her.

“It is an extremely sad situation and a concerning situation,” he said.

The judge said he would allow the agency to withdraw its application.

Interim care order

extended In a separate case, an interim care order was extended for a child whose parents both had alcohol addictions.

The girl had been in seven foster placements over two years before being placed with relative foster carers who have children of their own and with whom the girl gets on well.

The girl’s court-appointed guardian said the child was happy living with relatives, but she still held out hope her parents would access treatment for their alcohol issues and she would return home.

The guardian also highlighted concerns the girl had about the level of care she got at a previous placement. This was being investigated by the agency, he said.

The judge also reviewed the case of a teenage boy who was “transformed” after he spent time with his extended family at Christmas.

The boy, a resident in a care unit since last autumn, had not been attending school and there were concerns about his mood and motivation.

His guardian said the teenager was highly intelligent, with good social skills and could “really go places”.

The boy, who had begun to engage in therapy, had reached “rock bottom” before Christmas.

But there had been a marked improvement since he reconciled with his extended family.

“Staff at his unit said his mood has transformed,” the guardian said.

The judge said it was clear the primary motivation in the boy’s life was family members. He directed that family therapy be provided and said he would review the case again next month.