Immediate Release: 15th July 2016
A PrimeTime Investigates programme aired last night highlights serious concerns for young people with disabilities who have been in State Care. One of the key issues identified in the report were the absence of care files for these vulnerable young people.
Speaking following the publication of HIQA reports earlier this week and the airing of the PrimeTime programme last night, Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan made the following statement:
“We at EPIC are gravely concerned about the vulnerabilities of young people with disabilities living in State Care particularly as they reach the age of 18. Young people in State Care have little or no familial supports and are more vulnerable to abuse because of their disabilities. These young people should be afforded the greatest protection by the State, who as Corporate Parent has a responsibility for their care and protection.
Through EPIC’s National Advocacy Service, we have experience of young people falling through the cracks particularly upon transitioning into adulthood. There are an increasing number of referrals to our Advocacy Service, where there are no suitable follow-on placements for young people with disabilities upon leaving care at 18. In some of these cases, young people have only two options: access homeless services or return home, where in some circumstances, this may not be appropriate.”
It is vital proper protocols are in place as young people transition into adult services. Clarity on roles and responsibilities between Tusla and HSE Disability Services is required in order to ensure that no young person falls between the gaps. EPIC believes that every child with a disability should have a statutory right to an independent Advocate.
Notes to the Editor
- For HIQA’s Annual Overview Report on the regulation of designated centres for adults and children with disabilities-2015 (accessed 14/07/16) is available to read here http://bit.ly/29Sawbi
- 29 HIQA Inspection Reports were available published earlier this week are available to read here http://bit.ly/29SaRLe (accessed 14/07/16)
- International research indicates that children with a disability in the care system are at a higher risk of living in an inappropriate placement. See IRISS (2011) Permanence and stability for disabled looked after children, available at http://www.iriss.org.uk/resources/permanence-and-stability-disabled-looked-after-children (accessed 14/07/16)
For all media enquiries or to arrange an interview please contact:
Jennifer Gargan, Director of EPIC
Telephone: 01 8727 661 Mobile: 086 607 3866
EPIC (formerly IAYPIC) 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.