Family Court: Case ‘a fight between foster carers and father’

Child ‘wants both’ argues guardian, psychologist says student needs permanency

Family Court: A psychologist said the primary school student would not cope with any transition. File photograph: Getty Images

Family Court: A psychologist said the primary school student would not cope with any transition. File photograph: Getty Images

 

A child, whom the Child and Family Agency wants to retain in care until adulthood, perceives an ongoing court case as “a fight between her foster carers and her father”, her court-appointed guardian has said. “In reality, what she wants is both,” the guardian told Judge Brendan Toale at the Dublin District Child Care Court yesterday.

A full care order was granted for the child two years ago, with the goal of reunification with her father. But the agency has now said it is in the child’s best interests to remain with her foster carers and has applied for a full care order to adulthood.

Giving evidence yesterday, a psychologist said the primary school student would not cope with any transition and “more than ever, needs permanency in her position”.

Quite alarmed

“That set my alarm bells ringing,” she said. She said the child was catching up remarkably well with other children her age. She said it was essential for the child to stay in a stable place so her ability to self-regulate was not missed.

No decision

The psychologist said she did not know whether the child was referring to where she wanted to live or to whether or not she wanted to speak to the judge, but she did not push it any further.

The psychologist also said the girl had asked her if there was “a word for when you want to and don’t want to at the same time”. “I just gave her the word ambivalent,” the psychologist said.

Earlier, the court considered whether the child should give evidence in person. The guardian, the social worker and the girl’s father agreed she should not. The child’s mother was not present in court and was not represented.The judge ruled it would not be in the girl’s best interests or welfare to give evidence in court.

The psychologist’s evidence continues today.