Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South Fiona O’Loughlin has expressed shock and concern following confirmation that no standard protocol for the provision of psychological assessment to children in State care has been developed.

Deputy O’Loughlin has called on the Children’s Minister to review this oversight to ensure that delays in the current psychological assessment service are reduced.

“I have raised this issue a number of times with Minister Zappone.  The current situation is fraught with long delays, which in some cases have resulted in children being removed from the family home and placed in residential care because psychiatric assessments and care plans have been delayed”, said Deputy O’Loughlin.

“The Minister claims that “when a child is taken into care they are assigned to a social worker, who undertakes a detailed assessment, prior to developing a tailored care plan”.  However, we are all too well aware of the gaps in social care provision; with Tusla admitting that over 5,700 children have yet to be allocated a social worker.

“Given the sensitive nature of these situations, a psychological assessment should be carried out as a priority when children are taken into care.  Many are extremely vulnerable and it is extremely important that their psychological, as well as their physical, needs are met.

“I am calling on Minister Zappone to review the current situation to ensure that children receive the best quality care and protection available while in the care of the State”.