*An update on the boy was provided at a sitting of the Family Law Court. 

A JUDGE HAS stated that apartment living plans next year for a 17 year old boy who “can’t boil a kettle” is a pipe dream right now.

At a Family Law Court sitting, Judge Alec Gabbett heard that the court has a concern relating to the teenager’s independent living needs.

Judge Gabbett said, “I don’t think he can boil at a kettle at the moment”.

The teenager is in State care and living in a residential unit operated by a care firm on behalf of TUSLA, the Child and Family Agency (CFA)

Judge Gabbett said, “We are talking about putting him into an apartment next year, that is all a pipe dream at the moment as far as I am concerned. It is all very aspirational ‘find him an apartment and by the way he can’t boil a kettle’”.

Judge Gabbett said that he wanted to hear at the September review of the case that the boy has boiled an egg, made some toast and put some beans on the toast “at a minimum”.

He said, “We have about a year to get him to the stage where he can boil a kettle”.

Last month, Judge Gabbett ordered medical intervention for the teenage boy in State care after being told he has only had one shower this year.

A new TUSLA report provided to court confirmed that the boy has had three showers since the last court date in May.

Judge Gabbett said, “That is progress for a fella who had no shower.”

Solicitor for TUSLA, Kevin Sherry told the court that the boy having only one shower this year had been “a cause for alarm”.

Judge Gabbett noted that the boy was examined by a GP “and he seems to be okay” while a psychiatrist has recommended ‘small anti-depressants’.

Judge Gabbett said that he wanted to compliment the TUSLA social worker and the private care firm for their work since the last court date. He said, “Everyone has pulled their socks up – I am delighted with the progress”.

Judge Gabbett noted from a report that most of the teenager’s friends are friends he knows from gaming apps.

After hearing last month that the boy has only had one shower in 2023, Judge Gabbett said “I am not out there to force him to do anything but this is basic hygiene. He will get sick if he doesn’t wash himself – that is the problem. He will get cellulitis at best”.

After hearing that the teenager spends most of his time in his bedroom at the residential centre, Judge Gabbett said that he was concerned for the boy’s mental health, commenting “he is going to lose years of his life”.

After reading a TUSLA report on the boy, Judge Gabbett said that the boy’s “diet isn’t great either – pop-corn, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, pizzas – not exercising”.

The designated TUSLA social care worker for the teenager told Judge Gabbett last month that “we have been very concerned about him for a long time”.

She said, “The teenager is very, very isolated in his bedroom. He spends minimal time coming out of his bedroom during the day. He stays in his room, watching TV, or is on his phone and does school work from there. He will not attend any appointments”.

The boy’s court appointed independent voice of Guardian Ad Litem told the court last month stated that owing to complex trauma suffered by the boy in the past, he does have a several emotional behavioural disorder.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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