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Teens In Care - A Litany Of Failure?
 
# 1 : Saturday 6-3-2010 @ 04:57
 
 
Yet another story has emerged about another Irish teenager who was in care of the State and died of a drug overdose at the age of just 18 two years ago.

Article here:
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2010/0306/122426571 etc ...

This is hot on the heels of the breaking of the story of troubled teenager Tracy Fay, who also died of a drug overdose in the 2000s and led a life of drug abuse and prostitution. And of course there is the sad story of Melissa Mahon in Sligo, who was killed by an older man who took advantage of the troubled child who was also in State care.

A recent report also found that many teens in State care end up homeless and vulnerable to drug and alcohol addiction and prostitution when discharged from care. Indeed many abscond from the care system well before they reach adulthood.

It's patently clear that the State has collectively failed troubled youth and that the care system needs radical overhaul. Perhaps also, it will focus on the need for greater involvement of fostering by people - many same-sex couples would be able to give troubled youths a stable home environment preferable to the care system that has badly failed them.

What do others think?

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# 2 : Saturday 6-3-2010 @ 07:38
 
 
In my work as a teacher, not a week goes by where we don't come up against the bureaucratic nonsense that passes for social care in this country.

Just yesterday we were talking to a child who has a 'team' of five adults who deal with his case, JLO, social workers, drugs counsellor and others, none of whom meet or talk to each other. Imagine 'managing' a child's case and never communicating with the other professionals involved.

Another child could not go home because of something that was happening to her there and although the social services kept promising to ring back in an hour with an emergency placement for her, we ended up having to call the guards who got her into an emergency hostel. Apparently because she wasn't stealing, injecting or doing herself damage, she was not a priority. This was a very vulnerable 14 year old child. Even better, once she was settled in a new 'home' the powers that be kept sending her forms that needed to be signed by the people who had been responsible for her having to leave her family home.
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# 3 : Saturday 6-3-2010 @ 08:21
 
 
i could foster a kid thats at a disadvantage in their youth, but i am single and gay. i was going through the proceedures and i felt being gay would have its problems, for example a troubled child in my care and the parents found out i was gay there would be a lawyer suing on their behalf. so i was led to believe by a social worker, it is way out of date and needs updating (social services for children)
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# 4 : Saturday 6-3-2010 @ 10:16
 
 
Someone said :
i could foster a kid thats at a disadvantage in their youth, but i am single and gay. i was going through the proceedures and i felt being gay would have its problems, for example a troubled child in my care and the parents found out i was gay there would be a lawyer suing on their behalf. so i was led to believe by a social worker, it is way out of date and needs updating (social services for children)

Hmm- and I guess people like you are being passed over and these kids remain 'in the care of the state' whatever that exactly entails. Well, I imagine at the least you wouldnt allow your kid to run off to become a prostitute and develop a drug problem like Tracy Faye and you'd probably make it your business to know where she is, so you would already be doing better than the State.
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# 5 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 14:17
 
 
i just heard on the news/radio that a kid was placed in the care of a person with a criminal record, i was planning on giving a kid a place in my home and give them the security/love/home comforts they were entitled too. but i withdrew my name as i am a gay single man and thought it would be an issue for the hse and the parents of any child/teenager considered. but it seems the vetting process is flawed and has to be revisited. i am so angry over this, i feel i should get in touch with them and air my thoughts. but i see it as a waste of time, should i though?
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# 6 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 14:39
 
 
Someone said :
i just heard on the news/radio that a kid was placed in the care of a person with a criminal record, i was planning on giving a kid a place in my home and give them the security/love/home comforts they were entitled too. but i withdrew my name as i am a gay single man and thought it would be an issue for the hse and the parents of any child/teenager considered. but it seems the vetting process is flawed and has to be revisited. i am so angry over this, i feel i should get in touch with them and air my thoughts. but i see it as a waste of time, should i though?

Yes, you should contact the powers that be and vent your thoughts very forcefully. But I do know that gay couples and indeed single gay people in Ireland do foster children in care. The problem wouldn't so much come from the social services but more the families of these children who were responsible for putting them into care in the first place. But IMO these families forfeit their rights to parent their children and have a say when they abuse/neglect them to extent that their children end up in care.

We now have a generation in State care breeding yet another generation in "care." It's heartbreaking.
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# 7 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 14:56
 
 
i have no problem giving a kid a chance in life and helping them to achieve any goals they wish to pursue, i intend on writing a strong email to these people! but i feel it will just be tossed in the bin, i withdrew my name for many reasons but to give a kid too a criminal! why didnt the gardai object, you have to get forms stamped by them!
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# 8 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 16:54
 
 
Social workers are faced with enormous problems in their daily work and are vilified for doing so. In particular schools don't always report their concerns about children and are are even more reluctant to put their concerns in writing. This applies also to GPs and public health nurses. Its so easy to put the blame on very hard working social workers when most people cannot imagine the stress and blame constantly aimed at them from parents, who deny parental responsibility to smug teachers who are reluctant to pass on concerns in writing or inform parents that they are doing so. Collective responsibility is required by all agencies who deal with children and not solely social workers.

These cases are tragic but seriously do you think that social care workers and social workers in residential units can restrain troubled teenagers from walking out the door or taking drugs or prostituting themselves? If you lay a finger on a child you are rightly held accountable. So what is everyone talking about here? How realistic are people about how to prevent young people who often are placed in residential units from harming themselves? Lock them up and throw away the key? Often these young people are offered fantastic ranges of services from drug counselling to aftercare support including financial support but chose not to engage. They are so damaged from early childhood family experiences that unfortunately no amount of intervention, as was the case in Tracey Fay's situation, could be made to work.

The Government NOT social workers are fault for not providing sufficient residential placements, and also high support placements for very troubled teenagers. Social workers yet again get the brunt of overwhelmingly ill informed commentary when in fact the real culprits sit in Dail Eireann who don't provide the resources required.
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# 9 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 17:02
 
 
The lack of resources is universal, but really some people in the 'care' business need to have a bit of cop on. We had a 14 yr old child who was fighting with his mother (mainly because she would not let him out late at night), she was as stubborn and as childish as he was. He refused to go home and went to the guards for help.

He ended up in some sort of care facility who informed him if he wasn't in by 10 at night the doors were locked and he would have to stay out. Hardly an ideal situation when the issue was staying out late.

So, he spent the summer nights hanging around the Connolly LUAS, sleeping there, smoking blow, drinking and ended up on heroin by the September. I dread to think what he was doing to fund it. He has since gone home to his mother and begun to sort himself out, but I'm not sure the intervention helped in the slightest.
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# 10 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 17:13
 
 
Not sure what the previous thread means as its contradictory. Ask for intervention and then complain when its offered? Again locking up a child which you seem to favour is not the answer. The 'cop on' needs to come from other professionals who like to complain but don't want their names involved. Lack of resources true is universal but we are talking about children here not books and without sufficient resources where children can be kept safely while in care,tragedies will continue to happen. The current systems where a child presents to a hostel via a garda station at night and is placed with other troubled teens in a city center location STINKS of lack of resources. Dont blame the people working the system and do cop on yourself to the
real issues here which is a Government not prioritising children in care.
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# 11 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 17:18
 
 
i shot an email their way just a while ago, i also am going to re-enter my name again! if i can make a difference i will try, but i checked out also what funds people are getting to foster kids! i am assuming this is being abused also, the amount is so much! the kid is taken in i guess and is put into a corner and thats it i am guessing, once they are getting the dosh they dont care for the kids welfare. i wonder is that why so many run away again and they are put last if with a family, i know its difficult and kids are too but the system has to be re- examined. the whole country does really!
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# 12 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 17:27
 
 
I'm amazed at the generalisations being made here about the system and fosters carers. To foster a child a very detailed vetting system is in place in Dublin and surrounding areas. Generally at enquiry stage those who are not suitable to foster if you like are weeded out and do not go forward for assessment. I do not know what happened in the South of the country in relation to fostering but the current HSE is a collection of former health boards where possibly bad practice as reported on the news today could have happened. All foster carers are Garda vetted in most of the Country and where and why this has not happened is indeed a scandal.

there are many foster carers providing incredibly good care for children and the vetting system generally has worked.
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# 13 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 17:41
 
 
well that could be true, but when you hear of failures here and there week after week! i wonder what the hell is going on at all, something doesnt add up about the kid placed with a person that has a questionable past. i have no worries about being vetted and i am pretty sure of getting a pass on my references and credentials, but as i am a single gay man. i would rather not waste my time, if that is an issue after all else is ok. my reasons and intentions are genuine, but when i see this going on it pisses me off!
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# 14 : Sunday 7-3-2010 @ 21:09
 
 
theres no bar to fostering if you are gay
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# 15 : Tuesday 1-6-2010 @ 23:28
 
 
oh my god, go you, people that dont know anything about residential care should keep thier mouths shut, vetted!!!!! thats a joke, by the time your vetted you could have raped and murdered, children are in res care cos thier god forsaken parents cant handle them, dont want them or are dead, its easy to use scapegoats but these young people often do not want help, and you cant force it, so those of you that think you can save the world and keep tabs on young people work away, but these young people are in res care cos the forter parents cant handle them, so stop feelin sorry 4 yourselves
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