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Vulnerable children at risk due to government policy - Cullinane

3 July, 2013 - by David Cullinane TD

Speaking in the Seanad this morning on the report of the independent audit into the management of child neglect cases in South East Dublin, Waterford, and Roscommon, Sinn Fein Senator David Cullinane described the report as extremely worrying.

Senator Cullinane said;

“The main finding of this audit, which represents one of the recommendations of the Roscommon Child Care Case Inquiry in 2010, is that despite the involvement of the statutory services the circumstances of vulnerable children has not improved.

“This is a dreadful indictment on the state’s ability to protect vulnerable children, particularly in the wake of the children’s referendum.

“The audit finds that parental resistance to change and non-compliance with child protection plans are not challenged by professionals in the field, and that inclusion on the National Child Protection Notification System did not protect children.

“This is just not good enough. The government needs to speed up reform of children and family services and ensure that we have a modern and efficient child protection service that works in the interest of vulnerable children.

“The failings in Dublin, Waterford and Roscommon are not isolated. The Ombudsman for Children report published in April of this year into HSE Social Work Service Provision in the North Lee area of Cork found similar failings.

“It is clear that child protection services need to be properly resourced at a national level. If you cut funding to services that support families and communities then you are putting vulnerable children at increased risk of neglect.

“The cuts imposed as part of the government’s policy of austerity have also impacted negatively on staff who work on the front line of child protection.

“Vulnerable children depend on the state to protect them; thus far we have clearly failed.

“Government must step up to the plate and support vulnerable children and their families. And staff, particularly those at senior management must be held accountable for poor and shoddy work practices.”

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