Case Management Guidebook

Comprehensive guidance and support to professionals working in homeless and drug services

Family and Current Relationships

Family and Current Relationships

View Key Interventions

 Key Goals

  1. Identify what support services will be needed by the household as a whole and broker services to address each of these.
  2. Explore whether supports are required to address family break up or lack of access to children.
  3. Identify the household housing needs, considering mobility/disability, number of bedrooms required, access to children and ensure the housing plan accommodates them.


It is important to explore family and personal relationships with service users, as these relation-ships may help to improve their personal and social development, and their integration with society, and thus maintain a positive progression. Case managers should use this section of the guidebook to assist them with identifying areas where they can support the service user in the area of family and personal relationships.

Homelessness and addiction can, potentially, have a detrimental effect on the physical, social and educa-tional development of children, and on their well-being. The case manager’s role is to address issues related to family and current relationships in a holistic way, placing particular emphasis on the service user’s parental relationship with their children. Service users may require support in their interactions with extended family, the HSE or the judicial system (such as The Family Law Court).

There are two avenues whereby children come into HSE care:

  • Voluntary Care: this arises where the child’s parents and the social work team agree that it is in the child’s best interests to be placed in care. The arrangement is time limited, with the parents retaining all rights. The only stipulation is that should the parents wish to withdraw their consent and request that the child be returned to their care, their wishes will be communicated to the social work team.
  • Care Order: a Care Order is evoked by the social work team in the absence of an agreement between the parents and the HSE. The HSE’s authority to assume statutory responsibility in the absence of parental consent will be the subject of court proceedings. Under a Care Order, parents will have restricted/reduced rights in respect of their child’s welfare. A Care Order can be granted for a child aged up to 18 years.

The process leading up to a Care Order being granted involves a number of stages.

a)    Section 12 – immediate danger. In such situations, gardai can remove a child from a place of risk and place them in the care of the HSE. 

b)    The HSE must then determine whether to return the child to their family or to proceed to notify the courts and apply for an Interim Care Order (ICO). 

Section 12 expires within 72 hours. The ICO can be renewed every 28 days until the matter is either resolved or becomes the subject of a full Care Order court hearing.