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HSE recruitment ban contributing to child protection crisis - Doherty

21 May, 2008


Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty, speaking in the Seanad today, said the HSE recruitment ban is contributing to the crisis in the child protection services. Senator Doherty called on the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney to address the crisis by appointing the additional social workers and other community care and health professionals.

Senator Doherty said, "The Prime Time Investigates programme revealed the true extent of the child protection crisis. Children are being abused and neglected or left at risk of abuse and neglect even though their files are in the hands of the HSE and they are known to be in these situations. Dozens of files on children at grave risk are lying in filing cabinets with no action being taken because there are simply not enough social workers to deal with them.

"This is the result of the HSE's cap on recruitment for which the Government is ultimately responsible.

"Social workers and others working with children and for children's rights have repeatedly warned that the under-resourcing of child protection services, social work, community care, family support, psychological and therapeutic services is having terrible consequences. The current regime of cuts being imposed by the HSE are making things even worse.

"It is scandalous that we have waiting lists of over a year for access to child mental health services and family support services.

"We need immediate action by the Minister for Health and Children to address the crisis by appointing the additional social workers and other community care and health professionals. This is required without delay to fulfil the State's responsibility to children known by the HSE to be at serious risk of abuse or neglect, or actually being abused and neglected, but currently receiving no assistance. It is time to act for our most vulnerable children." ENDS

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