A four-year-old girl needed to have 20 teeth removed following severe neglect by her mother and father, the High Court has heard.

The family was discovered in Northern Ireland amid concerns about the parents’ transient and harmful lifestyle throughout the British Isles.

Details emerged as a judge granted care orders for three of their children.

Mr. Justice McFarland held: “Neither parent, on their own or as a couple, would be in a position to safely parent any of the children.”

Proceedings were brought against the mother and father, who cannot be identified, by a Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland.

The unmarried couple’s seven children have all been removed from them after social services on both sides of the Irish border claimed chronic neglect and serious safeguarding risks.

With four of the youngsters currently being fostered in the Republic of Ireland, the Trust sought freeing orders for another five-year-old boy and two of his sisters, aged four and 15 months.

The court heard the parents have spent periods living in different locations in the UK and Ireland to avoid involvement with social services.

Although they currently reside in the Republic, their actual address is unknown.

A previous court was told of a lack of provision of basic care, poor supervision, a “dirty and dangerous” home environment, and “severe” neglect.

Issues were also raised about alleged drug misuse, criminality and a failure by either parent to take advice.

In May, 2022, the family was located in Northern Ireland following a missing persons alert by the authorities in Manchester.

Mr. Justice McFarland disclosed: “A community paediatrician highlighted significant dental decay with [the four-year-old girl] requiring extraction of 20 teeth.”

In the newly published judgment he decided that the three children either suffered or were likely to suffer significant harm in their parents’ care.

He referred to an expert medical assessment of the mother as being emotionally immature with a mild learning disability, and the father’s long-term addiction issues.

Describing the family picture as “bleak”, the judge ruled that the rehabilitation of any child into their care could not be achieved in the short- to mid-term period.

“I have come to that conclusion based upon the needs of each child, the likely adverse effect on each child of removing them from their current placements and placing them with the parents, and the lack of any capability of either parent to meet the needs of the children,” he said.

Mr. Justice McFarland confirmed: “I will make care orders in respect of all three children approving the respective care plans for each child.”