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 mental health issues.

The CEO of EPIC, Terry Dignan, commented:

“The CFA must work with the HSE and the government to develop the necessary specialised interventions here in Ireland that will eliminate the necessity to send children abroad for treatment. It is unacceptable that facilities and supports for children and young people with specialised therapeutic needs continue to be inadequate. The CCLRP is yet again to be commended for shining light and drawing the media and the public’s attention to the serious shortcomings in our care of children with significant mental health needs.”

Notes to the Editor

  1. The latest report of the Child Care Law Reporting Project is available at https://www.childlawproject.ie/publications/ (accessed 29.01.18).
  2. The National Youth Mental Health Task Force Report 2017: This Report contains a number of recommendations from the Task Force, which was established to provide national leadership in the field of youth mental health and enhance how the public, private, voluntary and community sectors work together to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people. Available at: http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/YMHTF-Final-Report.pdf (29.01.18)
  3. The update of the Mental Health Act 2001 is due to take place by the end of 2018.

For all media enquiries or to arrange an interview please contact:

Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC                    

Telephone: 01 8727 661
Mobile: 087 2370269

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