Portlaoise District Court Judge Catherine Staines has ordered Tusla to explain why it has closed a file on a married couple involved in what the judge described as one of the worst cases of child neglect she has ever seen.
The couple, who are charged with three counts of neglecting a child, are currently homeless and residing in a hotel in Dublin with their three children, with the woman expecting a fourth child.
Judge Staines said she was “absolutely shocked” to learn that the children have been returned to their parents and Tusla has closed their file, even though the family is homeless and they have no social worker.
“How can Tusla close the file?” she asked, requesting an urgent up to date report from Tusla. She also said she wanted the social worker to be present in court on the next date. If the social worker is not present, Judge Staines said a court summons would issued.
Tusla were contacted by the Leinster Express for their comments and responded with this statement:
“As you may be aware, Tusla cannot comment on individual cases or on on-going legal processes. This is to protect the privacy of the children and families we work with. However, it’s important to note that all referrals of child protection and welfare concerns to Tusla are screened and assessed as appropriate in line with ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children.”