Improvements needed in foster care support
Labour spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Sean Sherlock TD, has said that children with disabilities in foster care and their carers must be provided with adequate support and services by the State.
It follows a report by the Ombudsman for Children today into the case of a young girl, ‘Molly’, who had been in foster care since birth.
Deputy Sherlock commented:
“It’s clear from Dr Muldoon’s investigation that improvements are needed to ensure adequate supports and services are in place for foster carers and the children and young people with disabilities in their care.
“Dr Muldoon highlighted a lack of coordination between Tusla and the HSE in the case of ‘Molly’, which he said was reflective of the situation facing many children with disabilities in care in Ireland.
“The case could now been made for a Guardian ad Litem to be appointed as the independent advocate for every child who comes into contact with foster services.
“I am concerned that the Molly case could be the tip of the iceberg, and there are countless families out there where children in foster care don’t have access to a basic care plan or pathway of care, leading to a lack of access to basic services.
“Foster carers play a valuable role in children’s lives and it is vital they receive the support they need from the State. Each child will have their own bespoke needs and the families who open their homes to care for them must be supported in this.
“I welcome that the HSE and Tusla have committed to acting on the recommendations in the report, and I look forward to tomorrow’s meeting of the Oireacthas Children’s Committee when these issues can be teased out further.”