Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue TD has expressed his shock and sadness at the details published today of the number of children who died or have been involved in serious incidents while in State care since March 2010.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “The reports published by the HSE and the National Review Panel today are deeply distressing not only for the families of the children who were failed by the system, but also for the public as a whole. My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the loved ones of these children, and I have ongoing concerns for those young people who are currently known to social services. Our priority now must be to ensure that they get the care and supervision they need to keep them as safe as possible.
“The National Review Panel has pointed to serious failures in the system, particularly when it comes to the assessment and supervision of young people in care. It is quite clear that we need greater integration of services for young people, including social work services, education services, supports for those who drop out of school, children’s drug and alcohol support services and counselling services for young people. We also need to improve the standard of cooperation between social services and the gardaí and in particular juvenile liaison officers in all communities around the country.
“I am calling on the Government to ensure, just as the previous Government did, that social workers are exempt from the recruitment embargo in the public service. I believe we also need to extend training for social workers to provide them with the skills they need to investigate difficult cases and to help them connect with those children who are most in need but may be hard to reach.
“The recommendations in the reports on each of these cases much be implemented in full by the Government and the HSE without delay. I am calling on the Government to put aside Dáil time to discuss this matter within the next week, so that we can set aside politics and have a constructive debate on improving the standard of care for our vulnerable children.”