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Wednesday 20 August 2014

Social workers criticised after boy (17) dies from overdose

Shane Phelan

Published 17/07/2014 | 02:30

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SOCIAL workers were criticised for allowing a teenager who later died of a drug overdose stay in the care of his father, a recovering drug addict.

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The boy, known as Nicholas, had first been referred to the HSE's Social Work Department when he was five.

He died, aged 17, from drugs while socialising with friends. Nicholas was no longer in HSE care at the time of his death.

The report was critical of the fact he was allowing him to remain for too long in an environment where drug misuse was the norm and his father could not meet his needs.

It said Nicholas first came into contact with child protection services as a result of neglect, maternal alcohol abuse and homelessness.

He became a father in his mid teens and afterwards ended up in a high support unit after becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and drug misuse.

His social worker team had tried to keep him living with his father, despite evidence the man was using cannabis heavily, in addition to methadone.

The report said that this resulted in the boy's father sleeping a lot. It said that when he was awake, he lacked a sense of proportion regarding his son's behaviour and "enforced few meaningful boundaries".

The report also found that services made available to Nicholas did not have the capacity to compensate for the neglect by his parents and his exposure to domestic violence and substance abuse.

Irish Independent

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