Wednesday 29 March 2017

Teenager left in foster home despite sex assault allegations against carer

'Some 32pc of the 1,100 abuse allegations reported to the HSE have been deemed to have reasonable grounds for concern, 2pc of which have been in relation to sexual abuse'
'Some 32pc of the 1,100 abuse allegations reported to the HSE have been deemed to have reasonable grounds for concern, 2pc of which have been in relation to sexual abuse'

Ryan Nugent

A person with intellectual disabilities was left in a foster care home, despite allegations of sexual assault against a carer.

It is understood that the child agency Tusla was made aware of the allegations and removed two children from the home, but a 19-year old was not removed from the home for a while after the allegations, which were made against a carer in the Cork/Kerry area, where the person had been living since 2003.

It is understood that there were no allegations of sexual assault committed on the 19-year-old, referred to as 'Client B'.

The HSE was made aware of the case early this year and it removed Client B from the foster care home within one week of being notified.

It is understood that after consultation with Tusla that its safeguarding and protection team moved the teenager from the location following a review and that the client has been placed in a specialist intellectual-disability residential-placement unit.

The safeguarding team used by the executive operates a zero-tolerance approach to any abuse claims.

Client B was moved from the unit in the south of the country in February.

However, according to reports, Tusla was made aware of the case before 2016, indicating that the person had been there for a number of months before being tended to.

Minister for Social Protection, Finian McGrath, who has a special responsibility for disability, told RTÉ that he would be "demanding answers" after the state broadcaster examined the case on RTÉ's 'This Week'.

"It's unacceptable that a 19-year-old with an intellectual disability was left in a foster care situation when two younger children were taken out," he said.

"The main point is that is important to have an immediate investigation into this case. I will be following up and demanding answers because we need the facts and we need the truth."

Barnardos chief, Fergus Finlay said the issue was "very disturbing".

"We've had a number of cases now were it appears decisions have been made to leave people in situations that have previously been identified as being unsafe," Mr Finlay said.

"And obviously like all the other cases, we've got to get to the bottom of it.

"Ultimately, I think we're going to have to face up to the need to properly resource this type of care," he added.

Figures released to the state broadcaster highlighted 1,100 concerns of abuse notified to teams since January, while seven people have been moved from their place of residence since January 2015, five of which have been removed from their family home.

One has been moved from a residential centre and another, 'Client B', from a foster care home.

Some 32pc of the 1,100 abuse allegations reported to the HSE have been deemed to have reasonable grounds for concern, 2pc of which have been in relation to sexual abuse.

The bulk of allegations have been for physical abuse at 12pc, with 8pc of cases alleging that a person was psychologically abused.

Tusla was approached for comment but none had been made available at the time of going to print.

Irish Independent

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