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Sunday 19 November 2017

Boy put into care as grandparents 'too old'

Tusla said it is 'not preferable' to place a child in a home where there is a '40-year age gap or more' between the carers and the foster child.
Tusla said it is 'not preferable' to place a child in a home where there is a '40-year age gap or more' between the carers and the foster child.

Martin Grant and Denise Calnan

A grandfather last night pleaded with Tusla to return his grandchild after the agency placed him into foster care - because his grandparents have been deemed too old.

The young boy has been removed from the care of his grandparents and put into foster care because the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) believe the couple are too old to look after him.

However, Tusla's decision comes despite testimonies from the family's doctors and the boy's school that his grandparents are able to care for him.

The grandparents, who are in their mid 60s, have been looking after the child for four years - but Tusla now says they will not be approved as the boy's foster carers.

This is despite the boy's parents not being in a position to care for him.

Last night, the boy's grandfather pleaded for his grandson to be returned to the family.

"I mean, we're totally and utterly distressed over it because he was our pride and joy," the grandfather told RTÉ's 'Claire Byrne Live'. "My wife is the same as myself - sure, she's gutted," he added.

Decision

He said that they "nearly hit the ground" when they learned of Tusla's decision.

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 would 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 our goal."

The grandfather said it felt like they were "dealing with a thing there's no end to".

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

In response to queries last night, Tusla told the Irish Independent it is "not preferable" to place a child in a home where there is a "40-year age gap or more" between the carers and the foster child.

"However, there is understandably flexibility around this guidance and each case is treated individually having regard for the identified needs of the children concerned," said a spokeswoman for Tusla.

She said a decision to remove a child is only made after "careful consideration" of all circumstances.

"It is determined that all of the individual child's social, physical and behavioural needs cannot be met in the current placement.

"Where a placement breaks down or is no longer meeting a child's needs, Tusla places the child with a relative or approved general foster carer who is best suited to meet the child's identified needs."

Tusla added that it can't give details of this case to protect the child involved, but is "confident in the care arrangement currently in place".

Irish Independent

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