Judge ‘happy with progress’ of teen

Considerable progress has been made in the case of a 16-year-old boy where it is costing the State €4,500 a week to house the troubled teen.

That is according to Ann Walsh, solicitor for the boy’s mother, who told Judge Patrick Durcan yesterday that her client “is happy with the progress” in the case.

Judge Durcan interrupted his own holiday yesterday to stage the special sitting of the family law court as he said he viewed the case to be so serious.

At the Ennis family law court, Ms Walsh said her client is happy there is now structure in her son’s daily life and that the therapies required for him are being put in place. Ms Walsh said a required therapy that was due to start in September is now starting a month early.

Last month in court, Ms Walsh reported that the boy’s mother was “distraught” that her son was transferred by Tusla, the Child & Family Agency, to an apartment in Louth with no structure or therapies.

However, Ms Walsh yesterday reported “considerable progress” in the case after Judge Durcan in the last week of July described in court as “scandalous” that the State is paying a private operator €4,500 a week to house the Clare teenager with no services.

Judge Durcan said at the time: “There is an expenditure of €250,000 a year by the State for a boy in a centre where there is nothing being provided for him.”

He also said: “I cannot see this type of structure at €4,500 a week. I cannot see what is being put in place in return for that — at that cost, I think it is scandalous. I’m sorry, I have to say that, I just can’t see it.”

The judge said: “There seems to be no planning involved in this case. There is no planning, purely reaction; no action — reaction the whole time.”

The boy was placed there last month after being transferred from a residential unit in Clare where Ms Walsh admitted the boy was out of control. The principal social worker in the case said that at the Clare residential centre the teenager was very difficult, hard to control, and didn’t engage with therapeutic services.

Yesterday, Kevin Sherry, for Tusla, reported that the teen is going on work experience for three days a week at his new placement.

Judge Durcan said this is a real positive and demanded progress be made in relation to getting the boy involved in his favourite leisure activity.

He adjourned the case for mention to September 15. Mr Sherry said Tusla would be making an application for an extension of the care order for the boy before the end of September as it expires at the end of next month. Judge Durcan said he hopes this would be done on consent.


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