Wednesday 26 October 2016

Girl (16) taken into care after mother's plea over daughter’s 'extreme distress and need'

Tim Healy

Published 11/02/2016 | 17:56

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A 16-YEAR-old girl has been taken into care by the Child and Family Agency (CFA) just days after her mother went to the High Court seeking to have her daughter placed in care as a matter of urgency.

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The mother said she was unable to deal with the level of her daughter’s “extreme distress and need”.  She had gone to court because she had not received a positive answer to her requests made from January 19 last to have the CFA urgently take the girl into voluntary or special care.

There was a concern about sexual abuse, Michael Lynn SC, for the mother, told Mr Justice Seamus Noonan when seeking leave for an urgent hearing of the mother’s case against the CFA.

The judge was told today by Mr Lynn the girl is now in care and, in those circumstances, the urgency was removed from the case. The sides agreed the matter could be adjourned for two weeks, counsel said.

In court documents, the mother said her daughter made disclosures last August alleging she had been sexually abused by a family friend and that abuse was continuing.

Social workers were informed of those disclosures, the mother said.

The girl had also been hospitalised on January 14 after an incident of self-harming, the court heard. Her mother said she learned about that incident from the alleged abuser and that added to her distress and concern about her daughter.

The girl had gone missing from home some 16 times since August last, sometimes for several days, and in recent weeks, after refusing to stay with her mother, had been staying, with the knowledge of social workers, with a former partner of the alleged abuser, the High Court heard.

The mother told her solicitors on January 19 last she cannot care for her daughter due to the "extreme nature" of the girl's distress and needs and her solicitors wrote to the CFA seeking for her daughter to be placed in voluntary or special care under the Child Care Act. They also asked that a decision to that effect be made within seven days.

It was claimed, when the case came before the court on Tuesday, no decision to that effect has been made and there was no “reliable” indication when a decision would be made.

The mother had sought an urgent hearing of an application for leave to bring proceedings for orders compelling the CFA make a decision "forthwith" on her application for her daughter to be taken into care. She was also seeking an interim order requiring the girl be taken into voluntary care pending further orders.

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