EPIC welcomes the announcement that data collected by the State on young people who leave care at the age of 18 but are in receipt of aftercare services will be available shortly. Up to date, reliable, and relevant data will help to ensure that required services can be identified, accurately costed and provide better value for money. Reliable data is necessary to ensure that policy development and decision making can be evidence based.
Recent reports have highlighted the tragic outcomes for children leaving care without adequate support. The huge gaps that currently exist in the level of aftercare service provision must no longer be tolerated. Reliable data will help highlight the disparities that currently exist in terms of access to, and provision of aftercare.
EPIC is currently aware of over 100 young people who are on a waiting list for aftercare in North Dublin. Jennifer Gargan, Director of EPIC said “It is unacceptable that any young person leaving the care of the state should be placed on a waiting list for aftercare support. The weeks and months after a young person leaves the care system are a crucial and pivotal time for young people. Financial, social and educational supports need to be in place well before a young person turns 18, and the young people themselves must be involved in that planning process.”
Some young people who are currently in receipt of aftercare supports are experiencing delays in receiving their financial packages, including rent allowance. Other young people in receipt of aftercare support who are in full time education have experienced delays in accessing payments after these were stopped during the summer break, and as a result have accumulated debts.
EPIC, along with Action for Aftercare, are continuing to call for aftercare to be placed on statutory footing. The current arrangements are iniquitous and haphazard, despite the development of a National Aftercare Policy, which is due to be rolled out in February 2012. By making aftercare a mandatory provision for those that need it, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, would prove her commitment to children and young people in the care system.
 O’Halloran, M.; 2011; Data on young people who leave care at 18 but get aftercare to be ready soon; Irish Times; http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1104/1224307039685.html ; [Accessed 8.11.11].
 Action for Aftercare is a coalition of NGOs, academics, aftercare workers and legal professionals who have come together to call for all children and young people leaving state care have a statutory right to aftercare if they need it.