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Teen girl (13) who is 'danger to herself and others' waiting for secure placement, court hears

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The Four Courts

The Four Courts

The Four Courts

A 13-year-old teenage girl, who is “a danger to herself and others”, is waiting for a bed in a secure placement to become available, a High Court judge has heard.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott was told today that the Child and Family Agency (CFA) had placed the troubled teenager, who threatened to kill herself, in a secure care unit last year.

Lawyers for the child’s guardian said her behaviour had improved reasonably well and she was transferred to a stepdown unit. She had then reverted to her old ways and threatened to set the place on fire.

She had been moved to another open unit and her behaviour had worsened. She had threatened to assault staff there, and had tried to harm herself by putting glass to her neck.

Judge McDermott heard the teenager’s situation had worsened after she was admitted to a hostel accommodation, and there had been evidence of self-harming to her wrist and elbow. She had allegedly also been taking drugs and smoking hash.  

The court heard during a vacation sitting that the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was currently placed in a unit in Co Westmeath were she had assaulted staff and threatened to kill herself. 

Lawyers for the CFA said the agency agreed the teenager should go back to a secure centre but no places were available at the moment. The agency was making every effort to ensure the teenage girl was being kept safe.

Judge McDermott was told that the girl’s disruptive behaviour had been exacerbated by the fact she was allegedly given a mobile phone by her father over Christmas.

The agency said the child was under the supervision of a psychologist and a huge amount of staff was available in the unit to supervise her. It was expected her behaviour would stabilize over the coming week and a care plan would be presented to the court next week.

The court heard that every effort was being made to get the girl back in a secure care unit but eight other children were on the waiting list.

Judge McDermott said he was satisfied all the parties involved were acting in the best interest of the teenage girl. He made the matter returnable for mention next week.

Online Editors