Vulnerable youth moved from ‘unacceptable’ B&B situation, court told

Judge sought move for teen due to ‘grooming’ concerns and long daily trip to school

The president of the High Court has welcomed news that an ‘unacceptable’ arrangement, under which a vulnerable intellectually disabled youth was living in a B&B and making a five hour round-trip to school daily, has been addressed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

The president of the High Court has welcomed news that an ‘unacceptable’ arrangement, under which a vulnerable intellectually disabled youth was living in a B&B and making a five hour round-trip to school daily, has been addressed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

The president of the High Court has welcomed news that an “unacceptable” arrangement, under which a vulnerable intellectually disabled youth was living in a B&B and making a five hour round-trip to school daily, has been addressed.

The 18-year-old is “delighted” with the new plan, the court heard. Mr Justice Peter Kelly remarked to solicitor Catherine Ghent, representing the youth’s guardian, that the new arrangement happened without her having to proceed with an intended motion against the Ministers for Health and Children and Youth Affairs aimed at getting a better arrangement.

“The mere threat of it produced a result,” he said.

“Your name on it may have helped,” Ms Ghent replied.

Mr Justice Kelly said he was very glad this had happened as the B&B situation was “completely inappropriate” and “unacceptable” given the youth’s needs and disability.

He was glad, once that situation was brought to the attention of the relevant authorities, it had come to an end and the youth would now be in appropriate accommodation with appropriate supervision. He thanked Maria Dillon, solicitor for the HSE, the HSE itsef and all involved.

Earlier, Ms Dillon told the judge she had “good news”.

Moved

The court heard the youth was moved in recent days from the B&B to an interim supervised facility from where he will be moved next week to a residential care arrangement.

He will have carers there, attend a different special school close to the residence and have supports for involvement in community and other activities.

The youth is one of several siblings in care. After a care placement broke down late last year, he was placed in the B & B with some supports from a Tusla Aftercare worker.

He was made a ward of court early this month. Concerns were expressed about the suitability and safety of the B&B arrangement for reasons including, while the owner of the B&B has been Garda vetted, the B&B has transient users who are not vetted.

Other concerns included the duration of the daily trip to a special school and adequacy of supports and monitoring for the youth.

‘Groom’

Ms Ghent, who had alerted the court to a suspicion a male user of the B&B may have attempted to “groom” the youth, had been given liberty by the judge to bring motions against the Ministers.

Those had not actually issued because the court was told by Ms Dillon earlier this week strenuous efforts were underway to move the youth. The judge, who had said on Wednesday the B&B situation could not continue, had listed the matter to return before him today Friday when he was told of the new arrangements.

Ms Ghent said a “huge amount” of work had been done to get to this stage, the youth was “delighted”, and she thanked Ms Dillon, the HSE and all involved. “Everyone went out on a limb,” she said.

Teresa Blake, SC for the parents, said they are grateful and very happy and hoped their son would flourish there.

The parents had not had an opportunity to see the new accommodation and reiterated their wish to be kept up to date and involved concerning their son. Membership of the family is important to the youth, she added.