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State failing vulnerable children
[Posted: Wed 02/07/2008 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
The State is falling short of its duty to protect vulnerable children and to support families with additional needs, the Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, has said.
The office of the Ombudsman for Children is the independent statutory body with responsibility for promoting children’s rights and welfare in Ireland.
Launching her third Annual Report, Ms Logan said that the office had seen a 43% increase in demand for its services in 2007. A total of 742 complaints were received last year, 44% of which centred on education and 28% of which related to health.
In the area of education, most complaints were against the Department of Education, not schools. Issues dealt with included bullying and a lack of support for children with special needs.
In the area of health, the majority of complaints centred on access and adequacy of HSE services, such as speech and language therapy, child protection and decisions regarding children in care.
Ms Logan pointed out that overall, 75% of complaints come from family and extended family members, ‘all of whom express frustration at the difficulty they have accessing adequate services for their children’.
“In some cases families are dealing with a wide range of state agencies and complicated application processes while trying, as primary carers, to ensure basic services for their children. It is unacceptable that this additional burden is placed on already stressed families who find themselves in vulnerable situations,” she said.
Ms Logan highlighted the fact that during 2007, a number of cases related to inappropriate behaviour towards children. This included verbal abuse and/or physical abuse.
“In such cases children are often invisible. Their voices are not respected and there is no obligation for their best interests to be considered. The State must address these deficits in how children are treated. A National Code of Practice that develops inter-agency cooperation for children would support public bodies to ensure that the safety of the children meets the highest standards,” she said.
Commenting on the report, the Labour Party’s spokesperson on children, Senator Alex White, said that Ms Logan’s concerns ‘must be acted on’.
“When Brian Cowen was elected as Taoiseach, he told the Dail that the particular responsibility of the Government was to ‘represent the interests of our young’. It is now time for him to act on that worthy sentiment by ensuring that the concerns raised by Ms Logan are addressed and resolved immediately,” he said.
For more information on the Ombudsman for Children, click on… http://www.oco.ie/
|Anonymous Posted: 04/07/2008 10:03|
|I think it's time for a childrens bill of rights as the human rights of childen seem to be ignored.|
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