Press Release

Minister Andrews Launches CAAB Report ‘Tracing and Tracking of Children Subject to a Special Care Application’

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews, T.D. today(Friday 1st October 2010) launched the Children Acts Advisory Board’s report, ‘Tracing and Tracking of Children Subject to a Special Care Application’.

The report provides an overview of the applications for admission to special care made by Health Service Executive Local Health Offices in 2007 and traces and tracks outcomes for the children who were subject of those applications up to November 2009. This research has been undertaken by Mark Brierley of Social Information Systems (SIS) and was commissioned by the Children Acts Advisory Board (CAAB).

The report is based on scrutiny of anonymised special care applications and their supporting documents, interviews with social workers, children, parents/carers, staff from the special care units, guardians ad litem and solicitors. SIS had previously researched the application process and case characteristics for applications for special care made between January and June 2007 (SIS 2008).

Speaking at the launch, Minister Andrews noted that the report contained both positive and negative findings, and stressed that any criticism should be taken on board and used to drive change and improve the levels of service to children.

At the launch, Minister Andrews said ‘There are many positives to be taken out of the report. Of those children admitted to special care, social workers felt that special care had a positive effect for 54%, with it providing a place of safety for a further 21% of children. For 18% of children, there was a negative response. Some 71% of social workers felt that special care was either effective or reasonably effective.’

Referring to the ongoing development of Special Care by the Health Service Executive, Minister Andrews said that ‘The HSE has embarked on an ambitious programme to reform the provision of special care and high support. There are obvious needs to introduce additional special care places and the HSE has started the planning process to identify where these places should be located. I believe that the recommendations contained in the report are entirely compatible with the HSE’s future plans.’

Minster Andrews spoke of how the CAAB report would provide a new body of information that will help guide the formulation of policy and the delivery of services in the special care sector, also stating that ‘because of legal constraints, it is often difficult to collate information arising from child care proceedings. CAAB has, through this study, presented a comprehensive report on the workings of special care and the outcomes for children who access special care. In addition, the study looks at outcomes for children on whose behalf an application for special care was made but who did not access special care.’