10 Aug 2022

Newborn baby taken into care in Portlaoise

Emergency care order due to domestic violence and parents' drug abuse

Newborn baby taken into care in Portlaoise

A newborn baby in Laois had to be taken into care last week due to domestic violence and drug abuse issues with its parents, with the baby potentially needing medical intervention due to its mother’s heroin use.

An emergency care order was made at last Thursday’s, September 28, Portlaoise District Court in relation to a baby born at 5.30am that morning.

The parents cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, and three other children who are already in care.

A care worker gave evidence at last week’s court that the case had been open for a year and a half, with ongoing domestic violence and substance abuse, as well as abuse of prescription medication.

The care worker said that an order was made last year directing the father of the baby not to reside in the house and for both parents to undergo regular urine analysis, as well as engage with MEND.

This did not happen and the relationship between the parties continued, with the domestic violence continuing.

On July 4 this year, both parties were in court concerning another domestic violence incident, in which the woman was held against her will by her partner.

The three older children in the family were taken into care in July and the mother left her grandmother’s house to return to her partner.

She hasn’t seen her children since July and has made no attempt to see them, said the care worker.

On September 12 this year, some two weeks before she was due to give birth, the woman tested positive for drugs including heroin and opiates.

The man had previously admitted that they were both using cocaine and the care worker said she had significant concerns that they were still using drugs.

On September 25, there was another domestic violence incident at the home with the front door broken, but when the gardaí went to the house the woman refused to make a statement.

The care worker also said that the man had taken to answering the woman’s phone saying there was no incident.

Judge Catherine Staines asked was there a foster parent available for the newborn baby.

The care worker replied that one had been sourced in Laois, the same family with which the three other children are staying, but the baby may have medical issues due to the mother’s drug use.

She told the court that the three other children are currently attending for counselling due to the domestic violence they had witnessed, with their mother punched, kicked and stabbed.

Judge Staines said she was satisfied it was necessary to make an emergency care order and granted the order until October 3 next, at which time the State will make an interim care order.

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