DONNA Lamb, whose 19-year-old nephew Danny Talbot died of a suspected drug overdose while in a Health Service Executive (HSE) aftercare programme, said the family spent fruitless hours trying to bring his name to the awareness of state authorities.
"We made 23 calls in one day. He would have been about 16 or 17 at the time. We were begging the HSE to listen to us," Ms Lamb said, adding they were trying to get a place for him in the special care unit in Ballydowd, Co Dublin.
"We were constantly told he didn't fit the criteria and the funding was low."
She said members of the family had appeared in front of a judge 21 times looking for Danny to be placed in a special care unit.
"What does fit the criteria? He is dead. How many more children need to die? When Danny died we were told he was the 21st child to die in state care and we were appalled at that. And then the list went up to 188. We need to take lessons from other cases."
Danny Talbot was living in a homeless hostel when he died in August 2009.
He was in a HSE aftercare programme at that point. He had been in state care since he was nine, following the death of his father.
Ms Lamb said they were currently waiting to see the outcome of the reviews ordered into the death of children and young people in state care.
However, she said she would like to see childcare removed from the HSE and run as a separate entity.