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Friday 17 November 2017

Eight different homes over 11 years in care

From the very beginning, this child had a "difficult" life, with concerns expressed about the parenting he received. He lived alternatively with his parents, who then moved abroad, and a much older relative.

He first came into care just before his fourth birthday due to allegations of physical abuse. Despite these allegations, the report details how he was returned to his older relative, who often left him on his own and who drank heavily in his presence.

By the age of five, he was already showing attachment issues and when he was made the subject of a full-care order, there was evidence of sexualised behaviour, but this was not fully assessed.

During his 11 years in care, he was housed in eight different situations, including a detention facility for young males aged 16-21 years. On a positive note, he stayed with one foster family for eight years although the situation broke down during his teenage years, "despite the efforts of all concerned to maintain it".

The report notes that he "carried a lot of anger".

Attempts were made to "help him deal with past experiences" through counselling but they were not successful.

He began shoplifting and drinking and placement in a residential-care unit failed to halt this pattern. In the last year of his life, the death of a friend, which he witnessed, had a profound effect on him.

On the day he died, he left the residential unit in the evening. Just half an hour later, someone ran in to say he had collapsed in a nearby apartment. He died soon after, aged 16. The report expressed concern with the high number of placements and the fact that he had seven different social workers during his time in care as well as a failure to address his addiction issues.

Irish Independent

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