Pregnant schoolgirl placed in secure care by High Court
A 16-year-old Co Dublin schoolgirl, who is six months pregnant and beyond the control of her family, has been committed to secure care by the High Court.
Barrister Sarah McKechnie, who appeared for the Child and Family Agency, told the court that the teenager, who cannot be identified, was so vulnerable she was at considerable risk.
Ms McKechnie said the girl had a learning disability which placed her in a vulnerable position, given that she had the cognitive functioning of an 11-year-old.
She told Mr Justice Bernard Barton that the girl was suicidal and demonstrated high-risk behaviour. She had little understanding of the danger she was putting herself in.
The court heard she lived with her father but had been absconding regularly. She had admitted having taken drugs.
Ms McKechnie said the situation was extremely urgent and the agency was concerned at the high level of risk, both to the teen and to her unborn child.
She said the girl had been missing for a number of days even after finding out she was pregnant. She had started smoking and had admitted to drinking alcohol.
Judge Barton heard the girl rarely attended school, had regularly failed to return home and the gardai were concerned about her socialising with an unsuitable group.
Ms McKechnie said the girl's father had been extremely concerned about his daughter's behaviour and had supported the application to have her placed in secure care.
There had been a concern that without secure care the girl would pose an increasing risk to herself in terms of drug and alcohol abuse and sexual activity.
Ms McKechnie said the agency was aware that the order of the High Court could be very traumatic for the young girl.
Judge Barton directed that the girl be taken into secure care.