Ó Caolain calls on the government to move immediately to address the gaps in child protection and services for children in the care of the state
Speaking following the publication of a series of HSE reports on serious incidents and deaths of children in care, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children, Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caolain called on the government to move immediately to address the gaps in child protection and services for children in the care of the state.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD said;
“The ten reports published by the HSE today reveal that there have been 35 deaths and 16 serious incidents involving children in the care of the Health Service Executive or who were known to the organisation since March last year. These are children who died from drugs, suicides, and road accidents.
“Our thoughts are with the families, friends, and carers of these children in what must be a very difficult day for them. Professor Helen Buckley, the Chair of the National Review Panel has said that some of the children died in ‘tragic circumstances’ while also stating that child protection is complex and challenging.
“We of course acknowledge the need for the HSE to conduct reports in to deaths and injury of children in care, however it is now time for the Government to begin to implement the changes that are needed to make being in care safe for children. Children should only be placed in care when it is in their best interests to do so, however the State cannot provide for the best interests of these children when they are not providing adequate numbers of social workers or adequate resources to those that are providing care to children. It is unacceptable that children’s deaths result solely in more ‘key learning points for the HSE’ and ‘further recommendations’ which are not implemented.
“Sinn Féin is fully supportive of the Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald’s intent to establish child welfare and protection services, however there are still massive inadequacies within the HSE for which they must be accountable. These reports are coming at a time when the Government is cutting back on social and health services, which harms already at risk children. The Government must ensure that the recommendations of these reports are implemented and not left to gather dust on shelves with previous reports that have been ignored by the Government and HSE.” ENDS