Sunday 26 January 2020

Girl in care escaped and went missing by jumping from moving car

The Four Courts, Dublin
The Four Courts, Dublin
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A girl absconded from secure care by jumping from a moving car while on an outing with two care workers.

The matter was raised in the High Court when the girl was still missing after three days, according to a new report by the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP).

The girl had been detained in the care of Tusla under a special care order.

Informed of the matter, the judge remarked that opening the door of a car while it was moving along and jumping out "seemed to be one of the escape routes" being used by children in special care.

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"I would have thought that security would have seen to it that there were child-locks in the car or a car with no back door. You may pass on my views," he told a barrister for the child and family agency.

In a further update to the court two days later, the girl was still missing with the search for her continuing.

A media alert was issued appealing for help from the public to find her.

The court heard Tusla appreciated the matter was quite serious and would investigate how it had been allowed to happen.

But the judge responded: "The facts speak for themselves.

"I don't know what an investigation is going to achieve or conclude other than what is blindingly obvious and that is the car was not secure enough," he added.

The judge asked to hear back with regards to what practical efforts would be made to stop young people from absconding.

He suggested using three-door vehicles and child locks in five-door vehicles.

The court heard the girl had previously absconded and was found hidden within a sofa in her father's house, with her father sitting on top of the sofa, trying to hide her.

Irish Independent

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