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Sinn Féin to raise concerns over access to child services with Children's Commission

22 February, 2006


Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MP Conor Murphy will meet the Office of the Children's Commissioner tomorrow, Thursday 23rd February, in Belfast to raise serious concerns about access to child services within the constituency.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Mr Murphy said:

"There are serious problems facing young people in relation to accessing both Respite Care and specialist Health services within the Trust and Board area. A lack of specialist therapists such as speech therapists and those carrying out clinical assessments means that the waiting lists just seems to keep growing and growing.

"The provision of respite care is even worse. The level of provision in the Newry Mourne area is among the lowest in the Six Counties.

"A number of families are unhappy with the provision and care packages which they have being allocated. Families that have made the decision to care for their loved ones at home should be given as much assistance as possible. Respite is a much-needed facility and it is the duty of the Trust to provide an adequate service.

"A recent MENCAP report showed that 80% of families have reached breaking point because they do not get the level of short break respite care they need and that 90% of disabled children's services have a waiting list. This is clearly not acceptable.

"There are specific problems in relation to educational provision for young people moving past the responsibility of the Education Boards where there is no provision of age-specific educational services and young people are often placed within in an environment that is not the most beneficial.

"It is important that collectively we work together to ensure that there is action to address this major failing in the provision of services for children and young people, particularly for those with special needs beyond the age of 19.

"We will also be raising the issue of access to funded pre-school places (PEGS) within in the Southern Education Library Services." ENDS

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