A report will be published today on the support given to a child with a disability who was abandoned at birth.
It comes after a complaint was made to The Ombudsman for Children by the child’s foster carer.
The report, due for publication later this morning, centres on the Molly case – that is not the child’s real name. The child has Down Syndrome and severe autism and was abandoned at birth
The Ombudsman for Children carried out an investigation into a complaint made on behalf of Molly, who is now a teenager, by the child’s foster carer about the level of support and services being provided by Tusla and the HSE.
Speaking ahead of the publication, Dr Muldoon said: “Molly is dependent on her foster carers in all areas of her care, including feeding, toileting, bathing, and dressing. She requires a wide range of therapies and services.
“Her foster carer complained to the OCO about the level of supports and services being provided by Tusla and the HSE. Although Molly brings joy and positivity to their home, her foster carer was struggling financially and emotionally to deal with her needs.
“We investigated Molly’s case and found that there was a lack of co-ordination between the Tusla and the HSE which meant that services and supports provided were insufficient.
“We also found that this is a problem facing many children with disabilities in care. In 2015 there were 472 children with a diagnosed moderate to severe disability in foster care, representing approximately 8% of the foster care population in Ireland.
“Following our investigation Tusla has committed to undertake a systemic review of the supports and services being offered to children in their care with a moderate to severe disability. They will also identify these children to the HSE to facilitate care planning and joint working for these children.
“The HSE has committed to include vulnerable children in state care in their performance indicators under Progressing Disability Services, and to ensure that any assessment procedures consider their specific vulnerability as child in care.
“The Government has also committed a total of €10m new funding for the HSE National Service Plan for 2018 which provides funding for respite supports and services.”
Dr Muldoon said that the investigation was important in highlighting the struggles of vulnerable children and said that the system must support these young people to help them to reach their full potential.
He welcomed the commitments made by the HSE and Tusla.
pictured: Children’s Ombudsman Dr Niall Muldoon