Children six times more likely to need help in certain areas
CHILDREN are six times more likely to be taken into care in some parts of the country than in others, new HSE figures have revealed.
And in Dublin, children who live only a few miles apart face hugely different odds of being taken into care.
The picture has emerged in a breakdown of the rate of children in care in 2010 in the areas of the country covered by 32 HSE local health offices.
One of the widest differences is between the Dublin North Central and North Dublin areas, where there is a more than a sixfold variation.
The rate of children being placed in care in Dublin North Central -- which includes Ballymun, Clontarf, Drumcondra and Beaumont -- is 156.8 per 10,000 children under 18 years.
However, the rate in North Dublin -- which includes Coolock, Howth and Malahide -- is just 24.1 per 100,000.
The HSE said the reasons for the variations were likely to be just "part of the explanation".
Experts say the lack of supports for struggling families is contributing to difficulties which should be managed instead of being allowed to develop into crisis situations.
Differences also emerged in Cork where the North Lee area, covering parts the city as well as towns like Macroom and Youghal, has a rate of 98.4 children per 10,000 in care.
This contrasts with South Lee, covering the suburb of Ballincollig and towns like Bandon and Kinsale, where the rate is 47.9 per 10,000.
The rate in West Cork is 46.4 per 10,000 and in North Cork, which incorporates Mallow and Charleville, the rate is 45.5 per 10,000.
Areas with some of the highest rates include Roscommon; Waterford; Dublin South City; Limerick; Tipperary South; Louth; and Dublin South West.
Areas with the lowest rates are Meath; Sligo; Leitrim; Donegal; Mayo; Kildare West; Wicklow; Cavan; Monaghan; and Galway.