Press Release

Launch of the Children at Risk Ireland Foundation (CARI) Annual Report 2005

The Minister for Children, Mr Brian Lenihan, T.D., today (4th July 2005) launched the Children at Risk Ireland Foundation (CARI) Annual Report 2005.

The Children at Risk in Ireland Foundation (CARI) was established in 1989. It is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. CARI was set up to provide post-assessment therapy services for children up to the age of 18 years who have experienced child sexual abuse and also to provide support for non-abusing members of their family. CARI has therapy centres in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Tralee, Galway, Arklow and Navan.

Speaking at Buswell’s Hotel, Minister of State Lenihan referred to CARI’s activity during 2004 which included 1680 therapy appointments to parents and children as well as providing 240 crisis appointments to parents of children who have experienced sexual abuse.

Referring to the funding made available to CARI over the past few years and the Health Service Executive ongoing funding of CARI’s help-line and counselling for families services, the Minister said “Those working with children who have been abused know that it is important that children and families in such circumstances have every support and that all aspects of their needs are responded to. Undoubtedly the whole family will need interventions and supports and both statutory and voluntary agencies must work closely to ensure that this happens”

The Minister stated that since 1997 €198m additional revenue funding has been invested through the health service in the development of child welfare and protection services. He referred to the policy focus having shifted “to a more preventive approach to child welfare, involving support to families and individual children, aimed at avoiding the need for further more serious interventions later on”. The increased funding, he said “has provided for a wide range of developments including family support projects, preventative services and intensive community based services”.

Minister Lenihan referred to the range of services from risk-assessment to child protection, counselling, support, advice and alternative care if appropriate which are provided by the Health Service Executive to children and young people who are victims of sexual assault, and their parents. “Counselling and specialised therapy can form a major part in recuperation for children where sexual abuse has been validated. It can be important also in helping children and families to cope following disclosure of abuse” he said.