Empowering People in Care

what we do

Giving a Voice

To what young people in care are saying


Explaining Rights

..of young people in care


Helping those working with young people

..to involve them more in decisions being made about them


Advocating Nationally & Locally

..for the rights of young people in care


Providing Aftercare advice and support

for young people leaving care


Producing relevant research

..that makes a difference

EPIC is an independent association that works throughout the Republic of Ireland, with and for children and young people who are currently living in care or who have had an experience of living in care. This includes those in residential care, foster care, hostel, high support & special care. EPIC also works with young people preparing to leave care and in aftercare.   If you are a young person in care at the moment, are leaving care or have experience of living in care in Ireland, or work with young people in care, we really hope you’ll find something on this site that will be of help and of interest. Please feel free to contact us

EPIC has been set up to..

  • Give a voice to what young people with care experience are saying
  • Explain the rights of young people in care
  • Give information, advice and support to young people with care experience
  • Help people who work with young people in care to involve them more when decisions are being made about them.

We do this through..

  1. Advocacy
  2. Policy
  3. Research
  4. Youth Engagement

We do this by..

  • working directly with young people who are in Care or have Care experience
  • working with organisations that work with young people in care

You can read more about our work in About Us

Children & Young People in Care in Ireland*

* Source - TUSLA Child & Family Agency Statistics at March 2015


Total in Care

in Secure Care

Residential Care

Other Care

Foster Care

without an allocated social worker

Relative Foster Care

without a written care plan

In Care

Check out this section to have your Care questions answered, find out about your rights in care, about leaving care and aftercare and much more!
Aftercare information and support


There is life after care, and we can help with your questions about leaving care and getting support to get on with your life when you turn 18.

What we do

Find out about what we do, and can do for you, in the areas of Advocacy, Policy, Research, Engagement with Young People in Care.

Latest News

EPIC’s Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

With and on behalf of young people in State Care in Ireland, EPIC prepared a submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) who are developing a General Comment on Adolescents. The submission highlights key issues for young people in State Care under the four guiding principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Non-Discrimination, Best Interests principle, Voice of the Child and Survival and Development. The rights and needs of Adolescents can often be overlooked. The effect of this official UN recognition will help influence States to implement adolescents’ rights, in particular, the rights of vulnerable young people such as those growing up in alternative care. Here EPIC highlights some of the key issues that young people growing up in State Care have. Key issues raised in the report include: access to mainstream education, access to technology, appropriateness of placements, placement instability, lack of follow-on placements, access and frequency of family and sibling contact, participation in care reviews and preparation for leaving State Care. Final Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child -... read more

Latest Press Release

EPIC Calls on Election Candidates to Commit to UNCRC Recommendations

Immediate Release: 4th February 2016 EPIC welcomes the recommendations published by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. A number of essential recommendations have been outlined by the Committee in order for the State to uphold the rights of children. Children with disabilities in care and young people preparing to leave care are two vulnerable cohorts identified in the report. Speaking following the publication of the UNCRC Concluding Observations, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan said: “EPIC strongly welcomes the recommendations made by the Committee. A number of key issues and actions required for children in care have been outlined including: ensuring procedures are in place for every child to be heard by their social worker and in court proceedings; implementing effective needs assessment and care planning; and guaranteeing that every young person leaving care has supports available to them.      EPIC continues to see discrepancies across the country in aftercare service provision. The implementation of equitable aftercare services is imperative. Every young person should obtain the necessary supports upon leaving care. In light of the revelations of the horrendous foster care abuse in the past week, the follow-through on these recommendations are vital. EPIC calls on every election candidate to commit to the implementation of the actions required.”               For further details of key recommendations, please see section on Notes to the Editor. Notes to the Editor Key recommendations made by the UNCRC for children in care include: Ensuring procedures are in place so that every child has their voice heard by social workers and the court. Effective implementation of needs assessment, care planning and record keeping for children... read more

Latest Care Update


Celebrating the 3rd Annual National Care Leavers Day   SAVE THE DATE: 9.00-16:30, Thursday 8th October 2015 Where: Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8. Programme (PDF)   Care Leavers Care About Your Health Conference Brochure Immediate Release: 30th September 2015 EPIC and Care Leavers Ireland will host its 3rd Annual National Care Leavers Day in Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8 on Thursday, 8th of October 2015. The theme of this year’s conference is promoting positive health for Care Leavers. Interactive workshops will focus on key aspects of health including: physical well-being, mental health, relationships, sexual health and advice for LGBT young people and professionals about coming out in care. Speaking today, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following comment: “It is extremely important that we raise awareness about promoting positive health amongst young people in care and for professionals working with them. This conference is unique because it is youth-led and targeted at young people leaving, or having left State Care. We, as practitioners and policymakers, have a shared responsibility in ensuring that young people are aware of the importance of keeping themselves healthy and building and maintaining relationships in order to achieve their full potential.”          The conference runs from 9.00-16.30. To book your place, visit www.eventbrite.ie . Young people with care experience can attend this conference for free. Entry costs for professionals or other interested parties are €50.00 and students €25.00. Media interviews with the Directors and care experienced young people can be arranged on the day.  For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview please contact: For full details of the programme, please click on the... read more

Life in Care

What is State Care?

State Care means you are placed in care after a Judge decides that this is in your best interests.  This can happen if that your parents are unable to give you the care you need to keep you safe and protected at home.

If you are taken into care you could live in:

  1. Foster Care- This is living with Foster Parents that care for children and look after you in their home
  2. Relative Care- This is living with a family member such as a Grandparent, Aunt, Uncle or another member of your family where they will care and look after you in their home.
  3. Residential Care– This is living in a house with other young people in care and residential care staff.
How can I be taken into care

A decision can be made your parents or by a Judge that it is not safe for you at home and therefore State Care is the best option for you.

Voluntary Care: Voluntary care is when your parents agree with The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) that the best option for you is to be taken into care.  In some cases parents are unable to cope due to illness or other problems, and they may agree to their children being taken into care. In such cases while The Child and Family Agency has care of the children, it must consider your parents’ wishes as to how your care is provided. The CFA must provide you with care as long as it’s required.

Care Orders: There are a number of ways that the CFA (Tusla) work with children.  The CFA may apply to the courts for a child to be placed in care. There are a number of different care orders:

Emergency care order - maximum of 8 days in care

Interim care order - maximum of 29 days in care but may be extended

Full Care order - can continue up to age 18

Interim special care order - maximum of 28 days but may be extended

Special care order - maximum of 6 months but may be extended.

Who will look after me while I am in care?

While you are in care you will be looked after by either your foster family or by the staff in a residential home. Your social worker will discuss big decisions about your care with you while you are in care. You should always be entitled to be a part of any decision made about you while you are living in care.

Can I choose where I live when I go into care?

The decision about where you will live will be made by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla). Your social worker will talk to you about this. Your social worker will try and find someone in your family first before they decide to place you anywhere else.

What are my rights if I am taken into care?

You have a number of rights if taken into care. The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) has a duty to make sure that all decisions about your care are made in your best interests. You have the right to have your views heard when decisions are being made about you being in care.

See also: Your Rights

Should I be allocated a social worker when I go into care?

Yes. All young people in care should have a social worker allocated to them from The Child & Family Agency (Tusla).

What happens if I don't get a social worker?

If you don’t have an allocated social worker you can contact The Child & Family Agency (Tusla) on 01 6352854 or info@tusla.ie or you can contact us here in EPIC on 01-8727661, www.epiconline.ie

What is a Care Plan?

A care plan is a plan is the plan about your care that your social worker prepares. It includes your care placement, your access arrangements made between you and your parents and your educational arrangements. It will also look at your health and emotional needs. You social worker should talk to you about your care plan.

Need Help Now?

Talk to someone

Want to Help?

Donate or Fund-raise to help young people in care

What the team say..

I really enjoy the work with EPIC, because the young people that we meet are inspirational often despite their difficult situations. It’s fantastic to see how with encouragement and someone listening and believing in them how much young people have to say about their lives, and what they are capable of achieving…


Advocacy Officer - EPIC Cork

My work in EPIC involves helping young people who are in care or who have care experience to speak up about their lives.

It is so rewarding to see young people having their say and realising that their voice matters



Advocacy Officer - EPIC Dublin, EPIC

We’re here for YOU - get in touch

EPIC Dublin Map

7 Red Cow Lane
Dublin 7

Ph: 01-8727661/Fax: 01-8727652
Mob: 087-903 6598
(for texts)

EPIC Cork Map
Millerd Hall,
Millerd Street

Ph: 021 242 8434

EPIC Galway Map

EPIC Galway
Westside Resource Centre
Seamus Quirke Road

Ph: 091 395 605



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