The HSE needs to fully support Stewart’s School leavers- Crowe
Children who have turned 18 years old and now have to leave Stewart’s School in Palmerstown need to be fully supported by the HSE according to Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe.
Stewart’s is a school for children with complex physical, intellectual, developmental, emotional and behavioural needs. When students turn 18 years old they have to leave the school, but the parents and families of these students are now going to receive limited and substandard support from the government, even though many children need assistance in all areas of their lives.
Crowe attended a meeting with the parents and families of some of these children last night.
Speaking after the meeting he said:
“These families have had to fight for the most basic services since their children were born. The government and HSE have paid lip service in promising to meet the profound needs of these young people, but no services is currently in place.
“These children have complex physical, intellectual, developmental, emotional and behavioural needs, and some need assistance in all areas of their lives. Due to the particular needs of these children, they need qualified and experienced staff to manage their needs.
“The families of these children are very grateful for the dedicated work that Stewart’s School done with these children and it has been extremely helpful, but as their children are now 18 years old they must leave Stewart’s.
“Stewart’s completed an individual Audit of Assessment of Needs on each child between March and May 2013, and this identified a programme of care for each child designed to allow them continue with their individual development. It would cost approximately €600,000.
“The costing’s for these programmes were submitted to the HSE as part of a funding application, but the families have been informed that less than €200,000, which is a third of what is required, has been offered to Stewart's Care to provide these services. This would only provide a two day a week service for the children.
“Many of the parents and families are already at breaking point this summer and if no services are provided for their children in the future they fear for the well-being of our children and their capacity as parents to cater for their needs.
“I understand that cutbacks in all Departments have to made because of the dire state of our economy, but as political representatives elected by the people, we must ensure we act to protect the most vulnerable citizens of this State.
“You would have to be made of stone not to be effected by the demands put on the shoulders of these parents.
“These families are not making outlandish or extreme demands, but they are just requesting that appropriate and proper programmes are put in place to develop the full potential of their children as they grow into adults.
“The system almost seems to be designed to wear out their resolve putting up every barrier, necessitating complex form filling for the most basic support, and parents have to fight for every meagre resource.
“I have written a letter to the Minister of Health appealing for him to reconsider the application submitted my Stewart’s to the HSE, and to provide the total amount needed for these programmes to become operational.
“These children are fully entitled to the provision of a full 5 day a week centre based programme and I will continue to work with the families to ensure that this is put in place.”