The predominant reasons children are admitted into the care of the HSE include: neglect/ physical abuse of a child; a parent unable to cope; a family member abusing drugs/alcohol; a child with emotional/behavioural problems.
There has been a consistent increase in the total number of children in care in the last decade. Over the past ten years 200 000 children and young people have been referred to child protection services, of which 20 000 were recorded as having child protection needs. There are nearly 6000 children in care, of which the majority of children are in foster care. It must be noted that there is a deficit of data on children in the care system and their outcomes.
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