Thursday 27 October 2016

Couple 'nearly hit the ground' when they heard grandchild was being removed from their care

Published 23/05/2016 | 23:06

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

A couple whose grandchild was removed from their care due to their age said they "nearly hit the ground" when they heard the child was being moved to a foster home.

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The child had been living with its grandparents, aged in their sixties, for more than four years.

However, the couple were told they had never been approved as foster carers to the child, who is of primary school age.

Child and family agency Tusla also said there is a guideline in place where children are not placed with carers more than 40 years their senior, the reported.

Speaking on Claire Byrne Live, the man said the couple are "gutted to bits".

Remaining unnamed to protect the anonymity of the child, the man said they are "totally and utterly distressed" since the incident.

"I mean we’re totally and utterly distressed over it because he was our pride and joy," he told the programme.

"[My wife is] same as myself sure she’s gutted and sure she’s the same way like."

The couple said they gathered testimonies from the child's school as well as a consultant pediatrician who declared the child as being emotionally stable with his grandparents.

“I don’t know how many back up and we’ll say references from people around and this that and the other," the gentleman said on air.

“Aw sure I nearly hit the ground [when I heard]."

Referring to the statement that the couple were "too old" to mind the child, he replied; “We’re fit and able to look after this child. So we would’ve willingly given up this child at some stage if our doctor said that we weren’t able to do it.

"We’d have guaranteed and given them that in writing. They wouldn’t settle for it.

“We hope to get him back, that’s our pride and joy, that’s that’s our goal.”

The grandfather said he felt like they had lost a child as they're "dealing with a thing there's no end to".

“All we want is our child back ... to look after him," he said.

In response, child and family agency Tusla said the agency "have guidelines in operation where it is not preferable to place a child in a home where there is 40 years or more between the child and the carers".

However, the agency said they do operate with "flexibility".

It also said a child is removed from a home "after a careful consideration of all circumstances".

Tusla said they cannot give details of the case to protect the child involved but said they are "confident of the care arrangement in place for the child".

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