Tuesday 23 January 2018

Care home teenagers 'moved 200km away' - because Tusla failed to fill position

Tusla's Director of Quality Assurance Brian Lee
Tusla's Director of Quality Assurance Brian Lee
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

"Vulnerable" teenagers have been left in limbo after they were forced to move 200km because state agency Tusla failed to fill a management position in their care home.

The teenagers were "uprooted" from their care home facility in Letterkenny in Donegal at short notice, local TDs told Independent.ie.

Donegal TD Pearse Doherty said that he was concerned for the three “vulnerable” teenagers who were relocated from the children’s care home in Letterkenny when it was closed by Tusla last Friday.

“They were taken overnight from their friends, family and schools,” he said.

“It’s traumatic.”

Speaking to Independent.ie, Doherty said he believes that the management position has been vacant for some time.

“The big issue for me is that management knew well in advance that the home was likely to close, but the children were given no time to tell schools or anything," he said.

Local Donegal TD, Pat the Cope Gallagher also said he was “extremely concerned” about the closure.

“Nobody should be uprooted and taken 200km away,” he said.

“It’s wrong that this happened and Tusla should return the children to a more natural environment that they have been accustomed to.”

A Tusla spokesperson said that the decision to remove the three children from the home “was taken in the best interests of the children”, and that they were moved to another care home.

“It was felt that the quality of the service provided to the children could not be guaranteed in the continued absence of a Centre Manager,” said Tusla.

Pat the Cope Gallagher said: “Tusla should have been more organised. People are entitled to move on but Tusla should have taken the necessary arrangements to replace the manager when the notice was given.”

Gallagher said that the closure of the home in Letterkenny was “disappointing” for the community and hopes that Tusla will reopen the home soon.

Tusla said they will continue to search for a replacement manager and will “re-establish the service as soon as possible”.

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