Hanafin launches Special Residential Services Board
The Minister for Children Ms Mary Hanafin T.D. today (Thursday 15th November 2001) launched the Special Residential Services Board as provided for under the Children Act 2001.
The Special Residential Services Board is being established to advise and improve co-ordination of special residential services for children convicted by the Courts and for non-offending children in need of special care and protection.
Speaking at the launch Minister Hanafin said, “one of the criticisms of our response to the needs of young people before the courts has been the lack of co-ordination between the relevant Government Departments and State Agencies.
The Special Residential Services Board will address this and will ensure the proper use of the Children Detention Centres and special care units. The principle of the Children Act is that detention should be a matter of last resort and for as short a period as possible. The Board will advise on co-ordinating the delivery of residential accommodation and support services for children in these schools and units and the level and nature of services available”.
The Board has been working on an interim basis for the past year under the chairmanship of Maureen Lynott who will chair the new Board.
The Minister also announced the appointment of Mr.Roger Killeen (a former member of the Interim Board and Divisional Inspector in the Department of Education and Science) as interim Chief Executive of the Board.
She said “Mr Killeen through his selfless commitment and vast experience in addressing the needs of troubled children before the courts is uniquely placed to ensure that the work of the Board is achieved”.
Minister Hanafin added that “it is recognised that some special residential care places are needed. The number of high support and special care places for non-offending children in need of special care or protection has increased from 17 in 1997 to a current total of 88 with an additional 46 places due to become available by mid-2002. There is also an extensive redevelopment and expansion programme underway of places for children who offend.
This Government is committed to ensuring that services for children are improved, it is important that the needs of children are responded to and that additional services are not only put in place but that the services are provided to a high standard.
The Special Residential Services Board will play a vital role in ensuring that all of these services are put in place and are maintained to the appropriate standards.”