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30 Nov 2021

New report finds vulnerable children ending up in care without proper interventions

New report finds vulnerable children ending up in care without proper interventions

New report finds vulnerable children ending up in care without proper interventions

A lack of joint-up service provision for mental health and other issues is resulting in some vulnerable children ending up in care without the proper interventions, according to the head of the Child Care Law Reform Project.

The latest report from Dr Carole Coulter reviews three years of legal proceedings which shows delays in accessing mental health services are resulting in children being place into care thus delaying family reunification.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr Coulter said there are cases where a more timely intervention could have prevented a child, who has become a risk in the home while also being extremely distressed, from ending up in the care system.

She continued that timely intervention by social services are needed and Tusla cannot access the assessments necessary to ensure impacted families can receive proper supports adding that a full review of what services are available for children and young people is required, to examine their capacity, needs and the criteria under law that is used to diagnose mental health issues.

Dr Coulter also highlighted gaps in legislation that prevent the family of a mother killed by her partner from seeking access to care for the child or children and while fortunately the killing of a mother by a father is very rare, the father still remains the legal guardian when in custody, and the children can often end up in care.

She said that issues arise around the victim's family, who cannot be involved in care proceedings or apply to be a notice party, unless the child or children have lived with them for the previous 12 months adding the establishment of Family Court "is at last on the agenda" with the heads of Bill published and the Department of Justice reviewing the ancillary services that would be required.

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