'Budgets being put before children'
on 16/02/2013 00:00:00
Among the main issues were that foster care families are still not undergoing adequate Garda vetting, and that some placements are being made on the basis of availability rather than the specific needs of some vulnerable children.
Caroline O'Sullivan, director of services at the ISPCC, said: "It seems that the lessons have not been learned from other reports already issued."
Last summer, the Irish Examiner outlined how some foster children were being placed with families with criminal records, a history of alcohol abuse, and possible mental health or drug issues.
Ms O'Sullivan said: "It is concerning that foster carers are not being vetted and that some children are in placements that are being made due to availability and not where their needs can be met."
The new Children and Family Support Agency is due to take over many of the responsibilities in child welfare cases from the HSE.
However, Ms O'Sullivan said: "The reality is that unless the new agency is given proper funding, it will fail in the same way the HSE failed."
She added that the non-vetting of some foster carers was a case of "putting budgets before children".
Spokesperson for the Irish Association of Social Workers, Ineke Durville, said social work vacancies in the system were "chronic everywhere".
She claimed that some areas are operating with just 60% of its social work compliment.
She said that children being placed with families on the basis of availability rather than need was also a resources issue, particularly as there were fewer residential places now available.