Tuesday 20 February 2018

Tusla faces criticism over new 'Grace' case

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Tom Burke
Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Ministers will today hear about a case of a woman who remained in the care of a foster family for two years after allegations of sexual abuse were made.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone and Health Minister Simon Harris will bring a report to Cabinet into the treatment of an intellectually disabled woman known as 'Mary'.

The report, which was carried out by an independent expert, strongly criticises the Child and Family agency, Tusla, for its handling of the case.

It's understood that after allegations were made against the foster family in 2014, a number of children in their care were removed.

But 'Mary' remained as she had turned 18 and was therefore deemed to be an adult, sources familiar with the report said last night.

Although a decision was taken in September 2014 to remove 'Mary' from the care of the foster, the order was not executed until February 2016.

The report, which follows the recent 'Grace' case, will pile further pressure on the State's care services.

Read More: Key staff member in 'Grace' case still working for Tusla

It says that there should be better understanding between state bodies such as Tusla and the HSE.

It is also understood the Government will agree a new protocol on the area of disabilities between the two agencies.

Significantly, it will ensure that people still receive the State services when they reach 18.

Separately, Ms Zappone is to seek Cabinet approval to end the detention of youth offenders in adult prisons.

Boys aged 17 have been detained in institutions such as St Patrick's going back almost 30 years.

The practice has been criticised by human rights advocates. Ms Zappone will prohibit the practice and start the removal of such offenders by way of ministerial order.

Irish Independent

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