Distressed girl taken into care at mother’s request

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

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

There was a concern about sexual abuse, Michael Lynn, counsel for the mother, told Mr Justice Seamus Noonan when seeking leave on Tuesday for an urgent hearing of the mother’s case against the Child and Family Agency.

The judge returned the case yesterday when he was told by Mr Lynn the girl was 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 the 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.

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

The mother told her solicitors on January 19 she cannot care for her daughter due to the “extreme nature” of the girl’s distress and needs, and her solicitors wrote to the Child and Family Agency seeking for her daughter to be placed in voluntary or special care under the Child Care Act.

They asked that a decision be made within seven days. It was claimed in court on Tuesday that no decision to that effect was 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 Child and Family Agency to 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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