Government failing children in care – Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said the Government’s failure over the course of three years to implement the findings of a shocking report on the deaths of children in care is an indictment of its record in protecting the most vulnerable of citizens.
Teachta Adams also referred to concerns at a HIQA overview of inspections which has revealed inconsistencies in the safety and quality of children’s services.
Raising the issue with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil this afternoon, Teachta Adams said:
“In 2012, a harrowing report by the Independent Child Death Review Group, documenting the deaths of 196 children in State care, deeply shocked many citizens.
“The report’s conclusions were a serious indictment of child protection systems and made clear that the state had abdicated its duty in respect of some young people and failed to provide adequate child protection support.
“Key recommendations of the report included independent reviews into the deaths of ten children, and for aftercare to be put on a statutory footing. Three years later, only one of these recommendations has been implemented.
“The result is that some young people in State care are being left without adequate support when they turn 18. These young people are now being exposed to exploitation and violence.
“When the report of the Independent Child Death Review Group was published the government said that it detailed ‘a litany of shame’. Then Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald described it as ‘harrowing’ and promised that an implementation plan for reform would be developed but it never was.
“The Government’s failure, over the course of three years, to implement the findings of this most shocking report, an indictment of the Government’s record in protecting the most vulnerable of our citizens who are in the care of the State.
“Tusla was established to improve children’s services, but as today’s Irish Times reports, a HIQA overview of inspections last year revealed inconsistencies in the safety and quality of children’s services, causing major concern.
“HIQA found significant delays in assessing the needs of children and families where there were reports of suspected abuse or neglect. There was evidence that children at risk of harm did not have timely access to social workers or vital supports.
“HIQA is concerned that management systems may not be adequate to provide consistently safe services. Some services cannot meet the needs of young people with challenging behaviour. As a result, HIQA is to commence a review of Tusla’s governance arrangements in 2015. I very much welcome this.
“This Government has failed to implement key recommendations of the Independent Child Death Review in 2012.
“HIQA is so concerned about governance arrangements at Tusla, the very body set up following the scandal of deaths of young people in care, that it is to commence a review of these arrangements.
“Such action calls into question the Government’s child services strategy, including the funding of services and how there has been a complete failure to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”