More than 1,000 kids are put in care due to neglect
NEGLECT and welfare concerns rather than sexual or physical abuse remain the main reasons why children are being placed in State care, a new report has revealed.
The figures show a total of 4,288 children were put in care in 2011 and 2012 and of these 2,561 were removed from their families by the Health Service Executive (HSE) because of worries about their welfare with another 1,076 suffering neglect.
Another 342 children were in care because of physical abuse, 241 for physical abuse and 68 for sexual abuse over the two years, the report published by Tusla, the child and family agency, revealed.
Welfare concerns relate to a problem experienced directly by a child or by their family, that is seen to impact on the young person's health and development.
The review of the adequacy of child and family services for 2012 said that since 2006, the HSE experienced a 91pc rise in reported concerns about children – from 21,040 to 40,187.
At the same time, the numbers of children placed in state care went up 20.7pc from 5,247 to 6,332 while funding fell.
More than 90pc of the children are in foster care, one-third of whom are relatives. Another 5.3pc are in residential facilities or high-support centres.
The report revealed continued weaknesses in follow-up support for children who leave care at the age of 18 years – a time when they are particularly vulnerable.
Although the numbers of young men and women who were getting aftercare services went up to 1,457 from 847 in 2009, just 61pc were in education or training.
In 2012 the aftercare support programme delivered to young people aged between 17 and 19 provided support of just eight hours a week for six months to support the transition from care to independent living.
Of the 60 children who were in care or known to HSE social services in 2011, seven were in aftercare situations, supported by HSE services.
Three of these young people died from suicide, three were found dead following drug overdoses and one died in an accident.
The report pointed out that once a report of a suspected abuse was made to social services, a preliminary inquiry should take place in no more than 24 hours.
This was only achieved in just over four out of 10 cases in the HSE south and the best performing was the HSE west which managed this deadline in 87.9pc of reports.