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Ombudsman for Children Report raises serious concerns – Ó Caoláin

11 May, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described the report of the Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, on the implementation of the Children First guidelines as a cause for serious concern.

He said:

“The Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan has identified major gaps in the implementation of the Children First guidelines which are designed to help protect children by ensuring vigilance and competence on the part of State bodies including the Department of Health & Children, the HSE and the Garda Síochána.

“It is a cause of serious concern that the Children’s Ombudsman concludes that the HSE, from its establishment in 2005 until 2009, made insufficient efforts to drive forward implementation of Children First.

“The Children’s Ombudsman’s report highlights poor implementation of the guidelines and lack of consistency in practice across the State. The HSE failed to ensure consistent definitions of abuse in local procedures across the HSE and also failed to provide clarity and consistency regarding the reporting of child abuse concerns.

“The Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is found to have played down the impact on implementation of Children First caused by ongoing industrial relations problems. This is a very serious matter that Minister of State Barry Andrews needs to address.

“The responses from the HSE and the Department of Health & Children included in this Report are inadequate and we need from them a comprehensive account of how they are going to put these matters right. Children may have been adversely affected by the many issues highlighted in the Children’s Ombudsman’s Report and these issues need to be addressed urgently.”

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