Starting the Conversation about People In Care

As someone who spent time in the care system, small talk, peppered, as it so often is, with questions about ‘home’ and ‘the family’, can feel like a minefield. It’s not like most people would think less of me if I just came out with it really, it’s just that a lot of them might be unsure how to respond. With Care Day (a celebration of children and young people with care experience) on February 16th, though, I think it’s about time that that discomfort began to fade. After all, to have a meaningful personal and political conversation about the care system, we are going to need to get over the initial awkwardness of talking about care. Endless depressing documentaries and gloomy articles about the care system lead some to believe that care will always and inevitably be a source of pain for anyone who’s been in it, and pain makes most of us uncomfortable. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t often bring my care past up. ‘It saves on tickets home!’ I sometimes joke, or I’ll tell whoever I’m talking to that ‘It’s fine!’. Whether being in care was painful or not for the person you’re talking to, that hurt won’t be alleviated by figuring out how to comfort you about it. Politically, too, the presumption that all care-related issues are difficult and sad topics make them less likely to be talked about. A governmental reluctance to really examine the care system means grant applications and government service forms often completely fail to allow for people with unconventional families. Inherent in the idea that the topic...

Fostering Campaign

Fostering 2018 Poster - PDF Fostering Leaflet 2018 Tusla Child and Family Agency DML are running a Fostering Campaign from the 26th February to the 9th March 2018 to recruit people who are interested in fostering a child or young person in need of care. The Regional Assessment Fostering team will respond to any enquiries and arrange fostering information evenings for anyone interested in hearing about the fostering process and criteria for assessment. Please contact us via the website www.fostering.ie. and click in Tusla fostering or phone your local Social Work Department.         fostering-leaflet-2018...

Deficiencies in our Mental Health Services for Children Persist

EPIC welcomes the latest report by Carol Coulter and her team in the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP). While Ms. Coulter’s reports shed a positive light on the progress that continues to be made in our care system they also highlight the challenges that continue to exist. One of the issues highlighted in the latest report published today (January 29th) is the fact that we continue to have to send some of our children abroad for treatment. The question must continue to be asked as to why the referral of children abroad for specialised therapeutic interventions has become an accepted feature within our health and social care system and why we, as the 8th best performing economy in the world cannot provide the resources to care for all of our children, regardless of need, here at home. Even more significantly, as long as we continue to send children and young people abroad, we must work to ensure that any such placement is for the shortest possible period of time and that the significant resources invested in providing these specialised interventions abroad are not undone upon returning home due to a lack of appropriate follow on placements and continuing supports available here. Children with severe psychological and psychiatric needs require robust diagnosis and assessment with a properly designed and regularly reviewed short, medium, and longer term support plan in place.  The case of a teenage girl who spent 9 months in a Special Care Unit without receiving psychiatric support is clearly of concern.  Wrap-around psychiatric services with multidisciplinary input are urgently needed for many young people suffering from serious...

Celebrate #CareDay18

Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC said “On February 16th next, EPIC, with our 5 Nations 1 Voice partners, will celebrate the third ‘Care Day’ since we launched the inaugural Care Day in 2016. Care Day is an opportunity to unite in celebrating the rights of care experienced children and young people, their stories and their achievements. This year we look forward to the biggest Care Day yet by welcoming even more children, young people, their friends, family and carers and care organisations to join in the celebrations. Be part of changing the story for children and young people in care and care leavers by spreading the word for Care Day 2018 and joining us through your participation in the celebration of Care Day 2018! #CareDay 18 - Show your support and get involved! How to get involved… Take a selfie with the downloadable Placard, and on the 16th of February post it on social media using the hashtag #CareDay18 - If you’re not okay with posting a selfie, you can just post a picture of your placard. You can also use our Care Day Twibbon to show your support easily on your Facebook or Twitter page. Care Day Twibbon Young Persons Placard Supporters...

Statement on Mandatory Reporting

EPIC cautiously welcomes the introduction of mandatory reporting of child protection concerns by professionals, introduced on Monday December 11th. This commences the final part of the Children First Act 2015, which places a legal obligation on professionals to report child protection concerns to the Child and Family Agency and to assist the agency with its assessment of concerns about children who have been the subject of a report. It also fulfils the 2011 Programme for Government commitment of putting reporting of child abuse on a statutory footing. Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC, said “More responsibility and ownership on reporting of abuse cases is a positive step, however we need to ensure that mandatory reporting does not overshadow continued investment in recruiting and retaining of social workers, coupled with early community intervention and support; the cornerstone of effective child protection.  EPIC would not like to see the positive progress being made by Tusla to be impeded by a diversion of resources in response to an overabundance in mandatory reporting.” Child protection is everyone’s responsibility, but it is now clear where that responsibility lies in terms of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare and protection. Tusla has issued publications and online training to enhance awareness and understanding of the new responsibilities. If you want to report a concern, see...

Care Day – Save the Date

FEBRUARY 16TH - NATIONAL CARE DAY Day(s) : Hour(s) : Minute(s) : Second(s) Care Day 2018 will take place on February 16th.  Care Day is the world’s largest celebration of children and young people with care experience. Care experience includes children and young people who are or were cared for by parents or other family members with the support of social workers; by foster carers; or children and young people from children’s homes and residential units. They deserve to be celebrated, on care day, and every day. Care Day is part of 5 Nations, 1 Voice – an alliance made up of five children’s rights charities across the U.K. and Ireland: Become in England, EPIC in Ireland, VOYPIC in Northern Ireland, Voices from Care in Wales, and Who Cares? Scotland. Care Day 2018 is an opportunity to celebrate the rights of care experienced children and young people. The alliance wants a world where the experience of these children and young people allow them to thrive and achieve their dreams so that they go onto have a future that is fulfilled, and something they are proud of. The 5 Nations, 1 Voice alliance invites every child and young person with experience of care to join in this day of united celebration. Those who care for and support these children and young people are also asked to celebrate. It is an opportunity to illustrate how care experienced people can feel different to others and why. So, on February 16th, next Care Day, everyone has the chance to get vocal, get social, and get together in celebration of the care experienced community....

EPIC Board Chairperson Vacancy

Download Advert for new Chair (PDF document) Role: Chairperson Remuneration: The role of Chair is not accompanied by any financial remuneration, although reasonable expenses will be covered. Location: Dublin Term: Initially offered on a three‐year term, with the possibility of one further term. Reporting to: The Board About EPIC EPIC is the only independent organisation in Ireland that works with and for young people who are currently living in care, or who have experience of living in care. EPIC provides direct one‐to‐one advocacy support to young people in care, to enable them to have their views and concerns heard, to empower them to speak for themselves, and bring about positive change in their lives. EPIC was set up in 1999, in order to: Give a voice to young people with care experience Ensure children in care know their rights Give information, advice, and support to young people with care experience Advocate for children in care to be more involved in decision being made about them We do this by: Working directly with children in care or young people and adults with care experience; Working with organisation that work with young people in care, to better advocate for the rights of children, young people, and adults with care We are now recruiting for the position of Chairperson, to replace the current Chair when they step down in January 2018. Current board composition The board is currently made up of nine board directors, with experience in legal, finance, HR, IT, fundraising, and with both professional and academic experience in the care sector. There are currently two main sub‐committees of the board. The...

Education Fair for Young People in Care

RELEASING POTENTIAL - EDUCATION FAIR FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN CARE! Children, young people, carers, and relevant professionals welcome to this information fair on educational opportunities for young people in care after they leave school! When: Saturday 25th November 2017 // 11:00-1:00PM Where: Graduates Memorial Building (GMB) Trinity College Dublin Map to GMB available here // For more information visit...

Conference Invitation – ‘What’s Good Enough?’

5th National Care Leaver's Day Conference Day(s) : Hour(s) : Minute(s) : Second(s) Following on from last years’ conference “OUT ON MY OWN” we are delighted to announce our upcoming conference on 13th October 2017 in Dublin Castle, sponsored by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.  “What’s Good Enough?” To celebrate the 5th National Care Leaver’s Day EPIC and Care Leaver’s Ireland are hosting an innovative conference aimed at young people moving towards Aftercare, in Aftercare and Professionals who work with them.  The focus of the conference is “What’s Good Enough?” promoting the positive transition from care to aftercare, highlighting the importance of positive mental health and creative therapeutic interventions,  how  can we improve educational outcomes for care leavers and discuss pathways to accommodation for young people in aftercare. Date: 13th October 2017 Time: 9.30am – 4.30p.m. Venue: The Printworks, Dublin Castle (Map) Price: +16 In Care & Care Leavers Free Professionals €50.00 + Booking Fee Students €25.00 + Booking Fee For tickets please see booking link below: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/whats-good-enough-tickets-36187941106 Download PDF of...
‘5 Nations, 1 Voice’ Alliance connecting care-experienced young people launches with #CareDay!

‘5 Nations, 1 Voice’ Alliance connecting care-experienced young people launches with #CareDay!

‘5 Nations, 1 Voice’: Alliance connecting care-experienced young people launches with #CareDay!  Five charities representing children in care and care leavers are joining together to connect and support these young people to shape policy and effect change across the UK and Ireland. As part of the 5 Nations, 1 Voice alliance launch, Friday 19 February 2016 has been named #CareDay, with activities planned across the nations. Supported by a £499,745 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, 5 Nations 1 Voice brings together Who Cares? Scotland, The Who Cares? Trust (England), Voices from Care (Wales), VOYPIC (Northern Ireland) and EPIC (Ireland). Each organisation is uniquely positioned in their own nation, and they share a common purpose: to represent the views or promote the voices of care-experienced young people to improve their experiences and outcomes. 5 Nations 1 Voice will build connections among care-experienced young people across the UK and Ireland. These young people experience similar challenges whether they grow up in Aberdeen or Aberystwyth, Belfast or Bath, County Cork or the Cairngorms. 5 Nations 1 Voice will create opportunities for young people in care and care leavers to build supportive networks with their peers, both face to face and online. The alliance hopes to build confidence and resilience among young care-experienced people, particularly about their identity. 5 Nations 1 Voice will advocate for increased protection for care-experienced people in law and ensure that they are integral to shaping policy that affects them. This could include measures that introduce more stability and security into their lives. Each organisation has experience of effecting change in their own nations; through this project, they...
EPIC and TUSLA Celebrate #CARE DAY 2016!

EPIC and TUSLA Celebrate #CARE DAY 2016!

JOINT PRESS STATEMENT: EPIC and TUSLA Celebrate #CAREDAY 2016!  Immediate Release: 19/02/16 Where: Ombudsman for Children’s Office, Millennium Walk, Strand Street, Dublin 1.   When: 19th February 2016  EPIC and Tusla - The Child and Family Agency will officially launch and celebrate the first National Care Day on the 19th of February 2016. This is a special day marked to celebrate the positive experiences and lives of children and young people in State Care. A special event will take place at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office in Dublin where a number of young people will present to invited guests. Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan stated: “Today EPIC and Tusla launches what we hope will be an annual event that continues to grow. Care Day aims to increase public awareness and celebrate the talents and achievements of children and young people in care. We hope that this event will show the importance of highlighting the many positive experiences young people have in care.”    Fred McBride, Chief Executive, Tusla stated “Tusla are pleased to celebrate in partnership with EPIC this first National Care Day in Ireland. It is important for us as an Agency to acknowledge and honour the many  achievements of children and young people in care.” Care Day will also be celebrated on February 19th in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as part of a wider campaign to promote a positive care identity for young people across all 5 Nations. ENDS This event can only be attended by invitation only. If you are interested in attended this event, please contact EPIC at (01) 8727661. You can follow and engage in this...
High Proportion of Unplanned Placement Endings

High Proportion of Unplanned Placement Endings

Immediate Release: 11th February 2016 A HIQA Inspection report of a private fostering care service provider released today highlights a considerable number of placements for children in care ending in an unplanned manner. While the inspection outlines how many children were happy and well cared for, poor matching of children with foster carers and training needs and supports of foster carers were linked to these placement breakdowns. Speaking today, Director of EPIC Jennifer Gargan commented: “Despite the positive experiences of quality care for many children, the report highlights that approximately one quarter of placements for children broke down over this period with no reasons outlined as to why these placements terminated and no steps to prevent this from re-occurring. It is clear further supports for foster carers, particularly, first time foster carers, are required. It is deeply concerning that in some cases there was no evidence of care plans or placement plans. The actions HIQA has outlined now need to be acted upon promptly.” Evidence both from national and international research highlights the importance of stability for children in care and its significance in determining positive outcomes for children in care. Notes to the Editor At the end of quarter 3 in 2015, there were 496 children in private placements. 62% (307) of these children were in private foster care and 36% (171) were in private residential placements. See Tusla’s Integrated Performance and Activity Report  http://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/Q3_2015_Integrated_Performance_and_Activity_Report_Final.pdf  (accessed 11/02/16) For all media enquiries or to arrange an interview please contact: Jennifer Gargan, Director of EPIC                     Telephone: 01 8727 661 Mobile: 086 607 3866 Email: jennifergargan@epiconline.ie  Website:...
EPIC goes into the West!

EPIC goes into the West!

Diary Notice: EPIC Goes Into the West!     When: Monday, February 15th from 2pm-5pm Where: ILAS Building, NUIG, Galway.    Immediate Release: 11th February 2016 EPIC will launch its National Advocacy Service in the West region on the 15th of February 2016. The aim of EPIC is to raise issues of concern for children in care and promote young people’s participation in decisions relating to their care. The expansion of EPIC’s Advocacy Service in the West means children and young people in care in this region will have easier access to an independent Advocate. Speaking prior to the launch of the service, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan commented: “The aim of EPIC’s advocacy service is to ensure that every child in care has an opportunity to be heard. We have experienced an increasing number of referrals as our Service continues to grow. The expansion of our service in this area will provide for an accessible, equitable and direct 1:1 advocacy service for young people locally based in the West region.   EPIC’s role is to empower young people in care and ensure that the voices of children and young people are heard both at an individual and systemic level; to impact on change within the care system.”  The goals of EPIC are to ensure that the participation of young people in care is promoted, that young people’s rights are upheld and young people are able to access services and resources they require. Ends There are currently 6,346 children in the care system in Ireland. Of these 1,460 children and young people are in care in the West. (Figures from Tusla as of...
Celebrating the First National Care Day

Celebrating the First National Care Day

Celebrating the First National Care Day  EPIC will launch and celebrate the first National Care Day on the 19 February 2016 Venue:                 Ombudsman for Children’s Office, Millennium Walk, Strand Street, Dublin 1. Date:                     19 February 2016 Time:                    2.30 – 4.00p.m. This is a special day marked to celebrate the positive experiences of children and young people in state care.  EPIC will facilitate a special event where a number of performances and presentations will be made by young people to invited guests at the OCO, Dublin. The event is part of a larger campaign that EPIC are involved in with their partner organisations across the Five Nations:- England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. As part of the event EPIC will launch their Postcard Campaign and we will call on everyone to tweet your wishes for children and young people in care using the # below #CareDay...
EPIC Calls on Election Candidates to Commit to UNCRC Recommendations

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...
Every Child in Care must be Safe and Protected

Every Child in Care must be Safe and Protected

3rd February 2016 The recent revelations that two young women with intellectual disabilities were left in an abusive foster care home despite evidence that it was unsafe again highlights the exceptional vulnerability of our children in the care of the state. The fact that over 40 children with disabilities were placed in this foster care home needs us to re-examine how we ensure that every child in Ireland is protected and safeguarded, in particular those children most vulnerable-children in the care of the state and children who are literally without a voice. Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following comment: “It is important, and indeed necessary, for these young women and their families to receive an official apology, an acknowledgement of the wrong that has been done to them. However, even of greater importance is the necessity to have an independent investigation of how and why this abuse of vulnerable young people was allowed to happen and continue for many years. It is necessary in order to understand how it happened and to prevent it happening now or ever again. As corporate parent the State has a statutory and moral responsibility for the protection and welfare of all children in its care. It has failed to do this in the past and needs to act now to make sure that we do not repeat the failures of the past and allow this horrendous abuse of our most vulnerable children to happen again.”  EPIC believes that there are a number of key actions which would provide greater protection to children in care, and particularly to those most vulnerable, those...
Every child must have a voice

Every child must have a voice

The recent revelations that two young women with intellectual disabilities were left in an abusive foster care home despite evidence that it was unsafe again highlights the exceptional vulnerability of our children in the care of the state. The fact that over 40 children with disabilities were placed in this foster care home needs us to re-examine how we ensure that every child in Ireland is protected and safeguarded, in particular those children most vulnerable-children in the care of the state and children who are literally without a voice. EPIC, as the only organisation that specifically advocates on behalf of children and young people in State Care, knows the importance of listening to each child individually and the significance of having a strong relationship with an independent Advocate as a protective factor against abuse. In 2009 the Ryan Report made robust recommendations to ensure that every child has a voice, however, the findings of the PAC Committee have illustrated that this has simply not been the case where the abuse of one woman with an intellectual disability occurred up until as recently as 2013. It is important, and indeed necessary, for these young women and their families to receive an official apology, an acknowledgement of the wrong that has been done to them. However, even of greater importance is the necessity to have an independent investigation of how and why this abuse of vulnerable young people was allowed to happen and continue for many years. It is necessary in order to understand how it happened and to prevent it happening now or ever again. As a matter of routine...
State under Scrutiny by UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

State under Scrutiny by UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

14th January 2016 State under Scrutiny by UN Committee on the Rights of the Child  Today the Irish Government will be examined on upholding children’s rights by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva. Children’s rights organisations have been working together to highlight the current gaps in service provision and policy for children and young people in Ireland.  EPIC has been part of the Children’s Rights Alliance UNCRC Project Steering Group which compiled the Parallel Report to Ireland’s Third and Fourth Combined Report under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Speaking today, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan commented: “Today is a very important day for children and their rights in Ireland. One of the most vulnerable cohorts of children is those in State Care. These young people are extremely vulnerable – before, during and after leaving care,  with little or no family supports. Both national and international evidence has demonstrated that children in care have poorer outcomes than their peers in terms of education, employment and mental health issues, and are at greater risk of homelessness and imprisonment than the general youth population. Latest published figures show there are currently 428 children in care without an allocated social worker and 604 children without a written care plan. Having a social worker and a written care plan are significant indicators in ensuring that these children are protected and can have their voices heard in the decision-making process. In order for this to be achieved TUSLA require sufficient resourcing  to adequately provide social work services and meet their statutory obligations.. It is a matter...
EPIC Welcomes Ban on Slapping Children

EPIC Welcomes Ban on Slapping Children

EPIC Welcomes Ban on Slapping Children Immediate Release: 11th December 2015 EPIC welcomes the Government’s ban on slapping children which effectively came into force at midnight. The new law removes the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ where a person uses corporal punishment against a child. Speaking today, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan stated: “We welcome this move by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. This is a step in the right direction in ensuring the protection of all children and embedding values in Irish society that any form of violence against children is unacceptable. By removing this defence, it further promotes a cultural shift in Irish society to ensure that children are equally protected and respected. Responsibility lies with all of us in upholding this. However, there is strong evidence of the need for supports to be accessible and available to parents especially those who are most vulnerable. This is apparent by the 40,000 child protection and welfare referrals made annually to Tusla.”       EPIC calls on the Government to promote parenting supports and develop an awareness-raising campaign to foster positive discipline strategies. Ends A parenting support document is available on the statutory body website responsible for child protection and welfare, Tusla (The Child and Family Agency) http://www.tusla.ie/parenting-24-seven The Committee on the Rights of the Child is due to examine Ireland’s obligations to children under the Convention on the Rights of the Child in January 2016. For all media enquiries, or to arrange an interview please contact: Jennifer Gargan, Director of EPIC...
 

Pin It on Pinterest

Positive SSL