Geatoir provides an Advocacy service for parents in child protection proceedings who have, or are thought to have, impaired cognitive functioning, intellectual disability or mental health concerns. The provision of an Independent Advocate for parents with impaired functioning is common practice in District Court proceedings and the appointment of such support is provided for clients of the Legal Aid Board (Circular 2/2007).
All Advocates at Geatóir have over ten years’ experience working in child protection in diverse roles; Social Work, Family Support, Child Protection Assessments. Each of the Advocates are practising Psychotherapists, bringing a therapeutic understanding of the social and cultural needs of families at the centre of the work.
The service of an Advocate facilitates a more productive relationship with clients who understandably struggle to comprehend the process and legal information. Once appointed, an Advocate is available to attend the following:
- Consultations with legal teams.
- Court appearances - to provide support and assist with explaining proceedings and court outcomes to the client.
- Reading of reports and explanation of same with feedback to the legal team to increase clarity of instruction.
- Attendance with the client at Case Conferences, Signs of Safety meetings, Reviews and other appointments related to their case.
The support provided eases stress on the client and alleviates the additional time pressures experienced by solicitors engaged in this difficult area of law, by providing the reassurance that the client’s instruction is based on supported knowledge of the information and understanding of the solicitor’s advice to the client.
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