Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy TD has expressed concern following media reports that a teenager in the care of the Child and Family Agency has not had her braces removed because the orthodontist wasn’t paid. The case was before the Dublin District Family Court yesterday.
Deputy Troy commented, “This case demonstrates the basic dysfunction of the intervention and family support services in this country. It’s a disgrace that despite the establishment of the Child and Family Agency, cracks still remain and this case is a prime example of the gaps which still exist within the system.
“The case also raises a number of questions about staffing and support practices. Did this girl have a dedicated social worker to ensure consistency and continuity of care? Did the agency attempt to make arrangements to have the girl’s orthodontic treatment completed? Was the agency making efforts to remedy the situation before the case came before the courts?
“The Judge in the case referred to the girl’s braces as “an unnecessary trespass on her person” and ordered that the situation be remedied after learning that they should have been removed three months ago.
“The establishment of the Child and Family Agency was meant to herald a new era in our child support and protection services, but funding and resources issues are already hampering any progress. The agency has already overrun by €25m this year, with Chief Executive Gordon Jeyes claiming an additional €45m is needed for next year, as well as a further €60m to fill vacant posts and to finance essential new developments.
“Unfortunately, while there was a €25m increase on last year’s budget, the figure falls far short of what is needed to allow the agency to operate effectively. I am deeply concerned that the impact that this funding deficit. Has the Minister learned nothing from the mistakes of the past? We need tangible budgets for this area, not shortcuts and back of the envelope calculations”.