Inclusion Ireland calls on Minister Katherine Zappone to review decision to exclude children with a disability from Tusla’s remit

Inclusion Ireland, the National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability, has today (15/01/2018) called on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Ms Katherine Zappone TD, to review the decision to exclude children with a disability from the remit of Tusla.

Paddy Connolly, CEO of Inclusion Ireland, said, “The report issued by the Office of Children’s Ombudsman investigating the case of Molly, again highlights that the political decision to exclude children with disabilities from the Child and Family Agency’s remit was a bad idea, is leading to poorer outcomes for children with a disability and is likely discriminatory.”

“Inclusion Ireland has come across a number of situations where Tusla has refused to get involved in situations where there are clear child welfare concerns for children with a disability. In fact, Inclusion Ireland, on occasion, receives calls from Tusla social workers seeking support in regards to children with a disability.”

“Inclusion Ireland wrote to Tusla at the time it was established and it was confirmed to us that children with a disability would remain under the remit of the HSE – this, in Inclusion Ireland’s view, is clearly a discrimination against children with a disability. This means that Tusla, its staff and its agencies, particularly the 106 Family Resource Centres throughout the country, are not adequately resourced and trained to support children with a disability and their families.”

“The Ombudsman’s report refers to the joint review by Tusla and the HSE of their working protocol, conducted in 2015, which stated that Tusla’s criteria for categorising children in need appears to discriminate against children with a disability, and may exclude them from child protection and welfare services.”

“Inclusion Ireland has experience of Tusla’s refusal to engage in a number of child welfare situations where a child had a disability. These include the restraint and seclusion of children in schools, refusing to work with a disabled child in a family whilst being prepared to support a child without a disability in the same family, and in situations where there were significant child welfare issues for a number of children in the one family.”

“Minister Zappone needs to establish whether the current practices of Tusla are leading to discriminatory outcomes and this can only be fully understood by conducting a review of operations to prevent more cases like that of Molly and the people that care for her.”

 

ENDS

 

Contact:

Nyle Lennon, Communications Officer, 086 837 3394

 

Note to editors:

Inclusion Ireland

Inclusion Ireland is the national association for people with an intellectual disability. The advocacy organisation provides a central forum for its members to identify priorities and formulate nationally agreed policies to present to government, statutory bodies, other relevant groups as well as the general public. Inclusion Ireland campaigns for changes in services and legislation that will improve the quality of life and participation of people with an intellectual disability in Irish society. The association also provides an information and advice service to people with an intellectual disability, their families, services that support people with an intellectual disability, students and researchers.