Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has criticised the government’s failure to meet its statutory obligations in providing Assessment of Needs to children.
Teachta Ward received information that the HSE spent over €1.2 million of taxpayers’ money to defend the state against families whose children have not had Assessment of Needs provided to them.
There are currently almost 3000 children on waiting lists for Assessment of Needs.
Teachta Ward said:
“In response to a parliamentary question I raised, I am livid to see that the state has spent over €1.2 million to defend the state against families of children with disabilities who have not received an Assessment of Needs.
“The Disability Act 2005 outlines the statutory timelines under which Assessment of Needs must be completed. In effect, the assessment must be completed within six months of the application date with a further month to issue the report and service statement where appropriate.
“In March 2022 the High Court ruled that the Government broke the law by providing 90-minute assessments instead of the comprehensive assessment of needs.
“There have been 119 legal cases by parents of children who did not receive an assessment of needs in a timely manner under the 2005 Disability Act.
“The state has paid solicitors and counsel over €1.2 million to defend the state against these families – €1.2 million to defend the indefensible.
“That is €1.2 million that could have been spent on Assessment of Needs, €1.2 million that could have been spent to decrease the time the almost 3000 children are waiting on these assessments.
“Additional information I received from the HSE states that in my area of Dublin Mid West there is up to a 4 year wait for a child to be assessed.
“This is just to get the assessment and once a child receives an assessment then parents have to fight the long waiting list for therapies like psychology, speech and language and occupational therapy.
“This failure is systemic abuse of children as the state is failing in its duty to help them reach their developmental milestones.”
To receive a copy of the Parliamentary Question response, please contact [email protected]