Fianna Fáil Spokesperon on Social Protection Barry Cowen has called for a complete overhaul of the process of assessing children for the Domiciliary Care Allowance. Deputy Cowen says urgent and fundamental changes are required after hundreds of children with autism and serious special needs have been cut off from State support following a Government cost cutting review.
Deputy Cowen said, “This is a disgraceful and targeted attack on children with autism in particular. A so called review of the Domicilary Care Allowance has resulted in 50% children with autism and serious special needs losing the payment simply because the system does not consider their particular special needs. A knock on result of this is that parents who are full time carers of children with severe autism have also lost their carers allowance.
“To add insult to injury, parents who have lost all State support in the past few months have been so far refused a meeting with the Social Protection Minister Joan Burton. These parents were forced to take to the streets of Dublin and Cork yesterday to make their voices heard, as no member of Cabinet has been free to meet them over the past two months. At the very least, they have a right to explain directly to the Minister just how devastating these cuts have been for their families and why they are so desperately in need of State support.
“Fianna Fáil will not let this lie. We are calling for a complete change in the Government’s policy in relation to the Domicilary Care Allowance. The Government’s approach to reviewing the allowance is wrong. Once again, the most vulnerable children are being singled out for the biggest budget cuts this year. Not only is this deeply unfair, it is incredibly short sighted and will cost the State more in the long-run.”