A GROWING number of foster carers, many of them looking after highly vulnerable children, are left unsupervised because of a lack of social workers, writes Eilish O'Regan.
There are 5,270 children in foster care, but just 78pc of carers have a social worker assigned to monitor the families, down from 80pc this time last year.
The lack of supervision comes in the wake of pledges for change from the HSE this week following the report into the Roscommon 'House of Horrors' scandal.
Commenting on the Roscommon case, which saw six children neglected and abused by their drunken parents although they were known to health authorities for 14 years, Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter said the apologies were "nauseating".
He said there were specific recommendations contained in the 1996 report into the death of Kelly Fitzgerald, the Mayo teenager who died after being neglected by her parents.
If these were implemented by the Western Health Board, he said, they would have ensured the Roscommon children would have been taken into care at a much earlier stage.