The family did not hear from Lisa for three years until Lisa got in touch with her brother Michael, told him she had a toddler and asked for help.


Zoe is a three-year-old child. Her local GP has raised concerns about Zoe’s development. Her physical growth appears delayed and falls below the average expected for a child of her age. In addition, she has only recently begun to speak, her language consisting of one-word utterances. Zoe attends a playgroup three times a week and, according to her grandmother, the staff has raised concerns about Zoe’s interactions with them and the other children.

She is withdrawn and has difficulty forming friendships with the other children. Mrs. Flynn gained protective custody of Zoe five months ago from her daughter Lisa. Lisa developed a drug and drink problem in her teens after she ‘fell in with the wrong sort of people’ according to Mrs Flynn. Lisa ran away from home at 16 in response to her family’s attempt to seek treatment for her drug and drink problem.

The family did not hear from Lisa for three years until Lisa got in touch with her brother Michael, told him she had a toddler and asked for help. The family found Lisa in a bedsit which was cold, dirty and damp. According to Mrs Flynn, Zoe spent her time lying in her cot and was unresponsive to Lisa, avoiding interactions with her. Zoe appeared very small to the family for a child of her age. It emerged that Zoe had been born prematurely and was of low birth weight. The family immediately informed Social Services and it was agreed that both Lisa and Zoe live with Mrs Flynn.

However, three weeks into this arrangement Lisa left the family home after a series of arguments regarding her continued drink and drug abuse and has not contacted the family since. Mrs Flynn was granted custody of Zoe as it was established that Mrs Flynn was very committed to Zoe and her welfare and that her home was a loving and safe environment for Zoe. Mrs Flynn has two other children (Michael who is 21 and is in college and Shelley who is 16) who both live at home with her and are devoted to their niece.


Lisa is a 12-year-old girl who has recently been hospitalized because of a recent suicide attempt {Overdose with pain killers}. Lisa currently resides with her foster parents and has done so for the last two years. Previous to this Lisa found it difficult to settle and has lived in several foster homes since she was 6 years old. Lisa birth mother died when she was 5 years old and following this she was cared for by her grandmother, until she passed away a year later.

Lisa’s father has not been present in her life since she was 2 years old. Lisa is in her first year of secondary school and according to her foster parents, she has appeared depressed lately, she is withdrawn, lacks interest in her school life and doesn’t appear to have any close friends from her school. Her foster parents appeared distressed and upset by the current situation, informing staff that they had spoken to the school, to see if they could shed any light on Lisa’s behaviour.

They also reported their concerns to the social worker liaison officer assigned to Lisa. On admission to hospital Lisa appeared sad and tearful, making poor eye contact and demonstrating poor social skills. On assessment she reported difficulty sleeping, decreased energy, irritable mood and trouble with her appetite