Child and Family Agency told to find therapy for teenage girl
Teenager requested counselling to help understand her mother’s psychiatric problems
A judge has directed the Child and Family Agency to find suitable therapeutic services for a young teenager who has requested counselling since October.
Judge Colin Daly said the agency was to identify appropriate therapeutic support within 28 days for the girl, who is in foster care with a relative.
He made the direction as part of an application by the agency to extend an interim care order for the girl, whose mother has been a voluntary patient at a psychiatric unit for more than five months.
The child’s court-appointed guardian said the girl had very little insight into her mother’s difficulties and it was very hard for her to understand what was happening. In October, the teenager had requested group therapy with teenagers whose parents also had psychiatric problems. The therapy needed to be provided as soon as possible.
“She needs some information around this for her own mental health,” the guardian said.
She also said the girl had been in and out of her mother’s care over the years and needed a long-term plan. The agency intended seeking a full care order, which could last up to the age of 18, in the coming year.
The social worker said the agency was happy with the care being provided to the girl by her relative foster carer.
Also giving evidence with the support of an advocate, the child’s mother opposed the application, but acknowledged she could not look after her daughter while in hospital. She said she would not like the child to live permanently with her relative and was alarmed that the agency would seek a full care order.
Judge Daly said he was satisfied to extend the interim care order for 28 days.
The short-term, emergency orders were granted on the basis of ex-parte applications, with only the applicants present in court.
In one case, a woman told the judge she had a 10-year on-off relationship with the father of her two children. They did not live together, but he kept coming over to her house, she said. At the weekend, he came to her home to take the children and said he would kill her and smash up the house.
She said they were out together on St Stephen’s night and when he came back to her house he “turned” on her and told her to leave.
He smashed the television, wrecked the house and threw the Christmas tree out the door, she said. She said she went to her mother’s.
“He’s bullying me and my kids, the kids are terrified of him,” she said. “This has been going on for too long; he’s an alcoholic.”
Judge Furlong said he would grant the protection order, but told the woman she would also have to consider her circumstances for the sake of her children.