Toddler in care after being found with her unconscious father

Girl was soaking wet when she was discovered in her buggy in a park, court hears

A toddler found soaking wet in a park with her drunk and unconscious father has been taken into the care of the State.

The Dublin District Family Court was told the girl was found by gardaí, wet through and in her buggy, last year.

A social worker from the Child and Family Agency told Judge Brendan Toale the child was living with her mother and maternal grandmother at the time.

The father had been minding her for a couple of hours, but had not returned her.


The child was then placed on the child protection register and there were concerns about a remark made by the father that his daughter was “sexy” when her nappy was being changed.

Abuse issues

The mother, who had substance abuse issues, had agreed voluntarily to live with the grandmother and that she would not take her daughter out of the house while she was “under the influence”.

Though the mother went missing on a few occasions, she never took the child with her until a separate incident last month, the social worker said.

She said the grandmother called to say the mother was missing and had taken the child, and €850 was also missing from the house.

Social workers then called gardaí, and the mother and child were found.

The social worker said the grandmother had been approved as a foster carer.

The father, who had not seen the child since the incident in the park, had said he would not attend court and was not in a position to care for the child, but would like to resume access.

The judge made an interim care order for 28 days.

Socially isolated

In a separate case, the court heard a boy in care had been socially isolated and bullied by classmates because of a behavioural problem.

A medical specialist had given him some help and recommended psychological therapy, but the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, run by the HSE, had rejected his referral, the judge was told.

The boy’s social worker said she believed the boy needed immediate therapy services and it was now proposed he get those privately.

She also said the boy’s mother had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital and had not had contact with social workers since she was discharged.

The judge said he was satisfied to dispense with the need for the mother’s approval for the boy’s treatment. He extended the interim care order for 28 days.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist