Severely autistic man to return to UK unit after HSE decision
Man has become ‘dangerous’ since returning to his family home, court hears
A young man with severe autism will be returned to a specialist unit in the UK on Saturday after his after-care plan in Ireland fell through.
The young man, who has a history of self-harm and violence, was returned to Ireland last weekend following a decision by the Health Service Executive to cease funding his placement at the UK unit.
His mother told the High Court on Friday he had deteriorated since his return. He was “menacing” and saw her as his “enemy”, she said.
He was “ranting and raving”, breaking items in the home and she has had to remove the other children when he “gets worked up” to keep them safe.
Her marriage had broken down because of stress over their son’s future, which has been uncertain since the HSE’s decision to cease funding the placement.
The young man, now aged 19, was placed by order of the High Court in a secure unit in the United Kingdom in early 2013.
In January 2014, aged 17, he came under the care of the then newly established Child and Family Agency (CFA), which paid for his care in the UK.
When 18, he passed into the care of the HSE, which has since funded his care, at a cost of £170,000 (€203,580) per year.
He has been assessed as being unable to live independently.
He transitioned to a less secure unit in 2014 and had been attending a third-level institution. He had been doing well and it was his parents’ wish that he remain there until May 2017 to complete his course.
The HSE, however, sought to return him here, saying he had been placed in a UK unit by the CFA and he was now an adult.
A care plan was put in place, involving 30 hours’ care a week in an apartment rented for him.
However, the chosen provider notified the HSE it would not provide the care, following an assessment of the young man’s needs.
Conor Dignam, SC, for the HSE, said another care provider had been identified, though the man’s mother said there were “huge alarm bells” for her when she heard this provider had agreed to provide care without having met her son.
She did not believe “they would have the expertise to care and manage [him] particularly not now that he has deteriorated.
Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said she had “heard enough”.
“There is no question of him remaining where he is. The evidence I have heard there is a clear danger to her children and adults. So we are not going to have that.
“It was never ever the view of this court that he should be put back into the family home.”
She said the case had been “hopping about” her lists since July and a resolution was needed.
“Really the powers that be have to grasp this nettle that the onus of duty of care on them is higher.
“It may be a discretion they have, but the longer this person is out of this country in care abroad, in a specialised unit, the higher the duty to ensure a safe and orderly step down . . . and safe and orderly for the family of origin as well .
“This is causing chaos for the family. So I would ask the powers that be to seriously reflect on this over the weekend.”
The case returns to the High Court on Monday.