February 29, 2024
Systematic failure of children in care is the hallmark of this Government – Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has slammed the Minister for Children’s absolute failure to adequately address the alarming numbers of vulnerable children being placed in unregulated emergency facilities.

Teachta Funchion said:

“The government’s overreliance on unregulated residential care is unsustainable, dangerous and failing to meet the needs of disadvantaged children.

“This morning’s news that suitable accommodation could not be found for two vulnerable children in a recent court appearance, clearly demonstrates we are failing these children.

“Today I called on the Minister to address this emergency with the urgency it needs; we have had countless interventions by the Ombudsman for Children, the judiciary, the Child Law Project, Children’s Rights Alliance and several independent reports on the dangerous living arrangements children are being placed in.

“Like other caring sectors in this State we have outsourced the guardianship and protection of children in care to commercial enterprises; making profit on the back of caring for young people is completely unsatisfactory and we need to see concrete plans to end commercial enterprise’s operating in this space.

“These children have already been let down by all of the adults in their lives, and now they are potentially placed in unsafe situations where uncertainty prevails.

“I think we need an independent review that looks at the whole residential care model, it is clear we are not fulfilling our duty of care, even in the most basic way.

“At the very least the residential care model needs to be reviewed as many of the young people housed in these facilities have suffered significant and life changing trauma, which requires intense and professional support.

“There is significant expertise from the non-government sector that wants to see change, the Minister must now engage with them and create a pathway for the eventual elimination of children being placed in unregulated facilities.”

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