Breakthrough for assessments for autism and disabilities

24 May 2023
  • Government concede to act on Labour Party motion

Labour health and disability spokesperson Duncan Smith said Government’s response to Labour’s motion today is a rare victory for all families with children waiting for an assessment of needs.

In response to a Labour Party motion in the Dáil, Minister Anne Rabbitte made a significant contribution and confirmed that she will take up the policy approach of allowing private treatment for children with disabilities to be recouped from the State.

Welcoming this, Deputy Smith said:

“Minister Anne Rabbitte committed in response to Labour’s motion that if the six planned regional assessment teams are not set up by 1st August to tackle the enormous assessment of needs waiting lists, she will bring Labour’s proposals for covering costs to the Budget. No child should have to wait for an assessment of need but unfortunately as it stands, thousands of children are.

“I was delighted that the Darmody family joined us today to hear Government concede at last. The Darmody family are just one of the thousands of families nationwide who are at breaking point.

“As of March 2023, 10,696 children have been waiting for over 12 months for initial contact with a Children’s Disability Network Team (CDNT), an increase of 836 since December, and 17,157 were waiting in total. The uncertainty and lack of support for these families is nothing short of a national disgrace.

“We need to see action from Government now. Labour will continue to hold the Minister to account to ensure that children currently on waiting lists have their needs assessed without any further delay.

“Early intervention is crucial for children. We welcome Government’s move and will continue to advocate for these families.”

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