28 Feb 2017
Answers Needed to Protect Children with Disabilities from Abuse
The Children’s Rights Alliance has welcomed today’s publication by the Health Services Executive (HSE) of two reports on failures at a foster home in Waterford.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, speaking today, said: “The children who resided at this foster home have been failed. Scores of vulnerable children, some of whom had profound disabilities, potentially experienced inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of a family that was not even approved as full-time foster carers. Abuse and neglect was rife despite concerns raised by social workers and others at various stages over the family’s thirty-year reign.
The publication of these reports is critical for transparency and accountability. However, the Commission of Investigation must quickly begin its work so we ensure that no child ever again suffers in the way that these children did.
Children with disabilities in care are among the most vulnerable of all children. In his ninth report to the Oireachtas published in November 2016, the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Prof. Geoffrey Shannon asked if there are sufficient concrete measures for protecting children with disabilities, given that these children can often be more at risk of abuse.
Shannon also called for an examination of the effectiveness of the Government’s Stay Safe Programme (a personal safety skills programme for specialised mainstream primary schools) for children with disabilities.
It is also vital that the voices of children with disabilities are heard and that they are provided with an independent advocate to stand up for their rights.”
For further information, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications & Development Manager
01 662 9400 / 087 655 9067
Note for Editors
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for comment/interview.