Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that Tusla must get its act together with regard to services for children with disabilities that are in foster care.

“It’s clear to me that Minister for Disability, Finian McGrath must ensure that Tusla has the resources needed to provide specialist expertise to social workers working with children with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting after a report was published into the supports provided to the foster parents of a child with an intellectual disability, named Molly, and the impact the lack of such reports made on her development.

“Equally, foster parents must get the supports they need to properly and adequately look after the needs of these children. They should not be out of pocket because of the additional needs of these children.

“Tusla has confirmed that there are currently 471 children with a disability in foster care in the State.

“It should be obvious to the management of Tusla, the HSE, and in particular the disability service, that these children would have needed additional supports compared to children without a disability.

“The fact that Tusla is not looking at this group of children in a different and special way is shocking to me. These children are incredibly vulnerable already, and for them to be placed in foster care, places an even greater strain on them and on those who will care for them.

“Foster parents do an amazing job, and they should be provided with the resources, expertise and advice needed to give children, like Molly, the best possible care and support.

“The HSE has acceded to Dr Niall Muldoon’s recommendation to immediately devise a respite action plan for all children with a disability.

“The fact that the HSE, in the past, refused in the past to fund respite care for Molly and her family is a shocking indictment, and demonstrates the abject dysfunction at the heart of State disability services.

“I am aware of a similar announcement last year, following a Government decision, to initiate such a review. Why hasn’t it taken place already? The care of hundreds of children is at the heart of this issue, and it disgusts me that their needs, and the needs of their parents and foster parents, are not being met,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.