02 August 2011

Minister Fitzgerald lays Ryan Report second progress report before Oireachtas

New Children First Guidance and 260 additional social workers among key developments;

Fitzgerald takes on Chair and invites outside representatives onto Implementation Group.

Lucan and Clondalkin based Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has laid before the Oireachtas the Second Progress Report on the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse - Implementation Plan (Ryan Report Implementation Plan).

Earlier this year Minister Fitzgerald personally took on Chair of the Ryan Report Implementation Group and invited the Children’s Rights Alliance onto the group as a non-governmental representative. Minister Fitzgerald was today joined at Leinster House by a representative from the Children’s Rights Alliance to mark the occasion of the laying before the Oireachtas of the Second Progress Report.

Minister Fitzgerald stated: “The Ryan Report published in 2009 detailed a shocking litany of past abuse in residential institutions. As I stated last week in response to the Cloyne Report it is my determined objective as Minister to seek to ensure that the evils highlighted in reports such as Ryan and Cloyne are never again countenanced.

“The Ryan Report Implementation Plan contains a comprehensive set of 99 actions and in line with the Programme for Government I am committed to delivering on these recommendations. I am happy to see that real progress is now being made on many of recommendations.

“Last week, I published the new Children First National Guidance 2011 and received government approval to bring-forward legislation to require statutory compliance with Children First. Putting Children First on a statutory footing was a key recommendation of the Ryan Report and went hand-in-hand with other recommendations including those focusing on resources such as the proposed recruitment of 270 additional social workers. I am particularly happy that 260 of these additional social work posts will now have been filled by the end of this year. These additional resources will provide for a significant strengthening of the state’s child protection and family support services.

“Another key concern of Ryan and other reports was the matter of out-of-hours social work services. Today’s report outlines progress on this front including a new emergency-placement foster service for children and the commencement of two out-of-hours social work pilot projects in Donegal and Cork. I expect reports on these pilot projects before the end of the year and this learning will inform the future development of out-of-hours social work services nationwide.

“However in building better services for the future, we must not forget the past. Many innocent lives were changed forever due to the abuse suffered in residential institutions. A central element of the government’s response to Ryan is in remembering and providing for the victims of past abuse. As highlighted in today’s report the National Counselling Service will this year provide additional counselling services to over 900 individuals while the Education Finance Board is continuing to provide grants to former residents and their families for the purpose of assisting them in accessing educational services.

The Minister concluded by commending the efforts of all the government departments and agencies involved in responding to the Ryan Report stating: “It is necessary to ensure a whole-of-government response to the ongoing implementation of this important report.


NOTE- Key achievements outlined the Second Progress Report:

Additional funding of €24m has been provided to date to implement the plan.

By the end of this year, 260 of the 270 proposed additional social workers recruited. These are additional posts. Recruitment to back-fill other vacancies is proceeding separately.

The HSE is currently recruiting 29 posts to deliver assessment and therapeutic services for children in high support and special care units, and for children in detention.

Children First National Guidance 2011 has been published. Minister Fitzgerald has received government approval to draft legislation to require statutory compliance with Children First.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and Equality, is currently finalising the Heads for the National Vetting Bureau Bill.

The Minister is progressing plans to establish a new Child & Family Support Agency, separated-out from the HSE.

HIQA has developed guidance for the HSE on the review of serious incidents, including deaths of children in care while a national review panel has been established by the HSE.

HIQA has been funded to recruit additional inspectors for foster care and new inspectors for child protection.

HIQA has developed national quality standards for care services for children and young people.

· A new emergency-placement service for children has been established. Gardai around the country can now ring a single phone number to access foster care arrangements nationwide on an out-of-hours basis.

· Two pilot projects involving out-of-hours social work services in Donegal and Cork are now up-and-running and will inform the future development of out-of-hours social work services.

Work is underway on the development of a National Aftercare Service in line with the new National Aftercare Policy developed by the HSE.

The practice of placing separated children seeking asylum in hostels has ceased. These children are now placed in residential and foster care.

An additional 10 Children’s Services Committees are being established and the intention is to have over 20 such committees in place by the end of 2012.

The Minister for Education & Skills has approved the proposal for a memorial to victims of institutional abuse to be advanced to competition stage.

Additional counselling services are being provided by the National Counselling Service with over 900 individuals will access counselling services in the current year. The NCS has also been exempted from the public service moratorium on recruitment and replacement of staff.

The Education Finance Board is continuing to provide grants to former residents and their families for the purpose of assisting them in accessing educational programmes. The Board approved 1,901 grants during 2010 and the overall value of grant payments during 2010 amounted to €1.514m.