“Aftercare plans for young people leaving care will make a significant difference in identifying the needs of often very vulnerable children, but the resources to action these plans are essential”, says Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon.
Niall was speaking following the announcement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, that from 1 September children leaving care will be entitled to an aftercare plan.
“Often young people are well into their twenties before they are confident or capable enough to live totally independently, without any support. Children leaving care at 18 years of age, like all young people also still need support. Therefore, a statutory obligation to provide an aftercare plan for young people leaving care is very much to be welcomed and I am hopeful that it will deliver for those young people.
“A similar statutory obligation to provide an assessment of need for children with disabilities is already in place, but it has unfortunately not been followed with the services that the assessments say these young people need. We cannot allow the same thing to happen for children leaving care.
“It is important that aftercare plans recognise vulnerabilities and challenges facing young people leaving care; this includes young people with disabilities who may require lifelong support, separated children seeking asylum that have not yet gained their refugee states or young people engaged in harmful risk taking behaviour.
“I am encouraged that Minister Zappone has secured the funding needed to recruit additional aftercare workers to enable Tusla to deliver this new commitment in full. This should be followed by further funding and resources for services that can action the aftercare plans of the young people leaving care”
Ombudsman for Children’s Office
01 865 6806