Foster mother challenges decision not to allow her adopt child

Woman says boy was taken away without consideration of his best interests or welfare

A woman has launched a High Court challenge against the refusal of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to consider her as an adoptive parent for a child she had fostered. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A woman has launched a High Court challenge against the refusal of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to consider her as an adoptive parent for a child she had fostered. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

A woman has taken a High Court challenge against the refusal of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to consider her as an adoptive parent for a child she had fostered.

The woman fostered the boy a few months after his birth in 2016 and he was in her care until last April, when she claims the agency took him away. The woman said this was done without any consideration for his medical or psychological needs, or his best interests and welfare.

The court heard that the woman, who has other children, wants to adopt the child. The parties involved in the case cannot be identified for legal reasons.

In her judicial review proceedings against the agency the woman claims the boy, who has certain medical conditions, has built up a strong bond and attachment to his adoptive siblings and the woman.

However, she says she was informed by the agency that as a single parent she could not adopt the boy, and that the child’s birth mother wanted him adopted by a two-parent family.

Following his removal from the woman’s care, which took place at a time when he was receiving medical treatment, the boy was subsequently placed with prospective adoptive parents.

Complex

In her proceedings, she claims his removal and placement in the hands of strangers was done without any regard for his welfare and was done without proper planning for his complex physical and medical needs.

In acting in the manner that it did, the woman claims the agency failed to properly vindicate the boy’s constitutional rights.

She claims the agency failed to give both the child and the foster family due process, fair procedures and natural justice in deciding on his future care and custody.

At Tuesdays sitting of the High Court the woman, represented by John Rogers SC, sought various orders including one directing the agency to review its decision not to consider her as an adoptive parent for the child.

She further seeks a declaration that in failing to conduct an assessment of the child’s attachment to his foster family the agency also breached its duty of care to the infant.

Permission to bring the challenge against the agency was granted on an ex-parte basis by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys. He made the action returnable to a date in mid-October.