Ó Laoghaire publishes Aftercare Bill
Sinn Féin TD and Justice spokesperson Donnchadh ó Laoghaire today published the Aftercare Entitlement Bill 2017
The Cork South-Central TD said:
“In late 2015, the then Minister for Children James Reilly brought the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015 before the houses.
“It was widely regarded as a poor piece of legislation, with some serious deficiencies. This Bill was to provide for an entitlement of a child to have an Aftercare Plan drafted while in care, yet did not provide any entitlement to the implementation of the plan upon leaving care.
“Sinn Féin has drafted the Aftercare Entitlement Bill 2017 in an attempt to address many of the pitfalls in the 2015 Act. This Bill would create, for the first time, a statutory entitlement to Aftercare and all the supports this involves.
“Some of these measures include designated a named person on behalf of Túsla to oversee the implementation of the aftercare plan, an entitlement to supported accommodation for care leavers immediately after leaving a care setting and install a system of review and reengagement with the care leaver on a routine basis. We also propose extending the age of entitlement to 27.
“We hope this will lead to an entitlement of Aftercare being a statutory requirement on the states behalf, allowing for young people leaving care being supported in a way that gives them an opportunity to transition and adapt to a new way of life in a steady and progressive manner.
“The period directly after care formally ends can be a difficult time, and a time of much change. It is at this time that the care leaver is most at risk and we must put in place the necessary supports for the benefit of future education, employment, and overall quality of life.
“I am glad to have the support of EPIC and the Irish Aftercare Network in this regard. We will be seeking cross-party support to ensure as much of this Bill as possible is implemented.”