Foster mum falsely accused of facilitating porn access

Rosaleen Jones

A mother who had fostered a child for more than 10 years was falsely accused by the HSE of facilitating his access to pornography in the family home, an investigation by the Irish Examiner has learned, writes Michael Clifford.

Three months after the teenager had left her home to return to the care of the State, Rosaleen Jones was informed by letter that he had made a disclosure stating he had accessed the pornography with her knowledge, in the home.

The letter informed her that a social worker wished to visit her home to discuss the matter.

“Sean [not his real name] alleged that he watched gay pornography with your knowledge on more than one occasion while he lived in your home,” read the letter, which was sent in January 2013. “We would like to discuss this with you and are inviting you to meet with us.”

As well as fostering Sean, Rosaleen Jones and her husband Martin have a biological son, Martin.

Rosaleen was stunned at the letter because she had personally informed the HSE of an incident in a hotel where Sean had accessed pornography just before he returned to the care of the State.

She had immediately contacted the HSE on learning of the access.

However, her report had been lost and now the disclosure was being treated as if it had been revealed for the first time.

The incident echoed with the experience of whistle-blower Sergeant Maurice McCabe, who received a letter from Tusla in January 2016 saying an allegation of serious sexual abuse had been made against him, despite the fact that the allegation had been discovered to be a grievous error in Tusla some seven months earlier.

Rosaleen and Martin Jones told the Irish Examiner that Sgt McCabe’s problems with child services mirrored the experience they had endured throughout their fostering, in which they claim there was very little support in dealing with the challenges presented by Sean.

A report into the case, compiled by an outside agency, concluded that the Joneses had been left in a “no man’s land” in terms of care for the boy they first took into their home at just three years old.

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner

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