Suicides, accidents, overdose among the deaths suffered by children in care last year

Suicides, accidents, overdose among the deaths suffered by children in care last year
File photo

A total of 22 children and young people in care or known to the child protection system, died in 2017, the panel tasked with charting such deaths has said.

The annual report from the National Review Panel* (NRP) states the figure was some 4% less than in 2016.

NRP chair Dr Helen Buckley said: "I’d like to extend my sympathy to the families and anyone affected by the tragic deaths of these children and young people.” She added that while the report showed "some very good practice once services became involved...some social work departments were under serious pressure with high referral rates and staff shortages that inevitably impacted on their ability to provide a good quality service.”

Brian Lee, Director of Quality Assurance, Tusla said: “The National Review Panel’s Annual Report 2017 highlights a decrease in the number of child deaths relating to children known to child protection services or in care (4% less than 2016).”

Mr Lee continued: “The death of each child or young person, as detailed in these reports is a tragedy and I extend my sympathy to anyone affected by these very sad deaths. The reports published alongside the Annual Report showed areas of very strong practice including supportive, consistent and child centred support, good interagency working relationships, efforts made by all professionals to develop positive working relationships, and a consistent thread of oversight.

"Reports provided by the NRP are very useful to the Agency as they highlight areas for key learning and improvements as we endeavour to continuously improve services for the children and families we work with.”

Of the deaths notified in 2017:

  • Eight died as a result of natural causes;
  • Three died from suicide;
  • Five died from road traffic incidents and other accidents;
  • One died from a drug overdose;
  • Two died by homicide;
  • Three died of unknown causes.

In notes on the care status of the children, the report states:

  • 17 were known to social work services;
  • Five were in care. Of those:
  • Two children died from natural causes;
  • One child died by suicide;
  • One child died as a result of a domestic accident;
  • One died from an unknown cause.

* The NRP conducts reviews of instances where children in care, in aftercare or known to child protection services die or experience serious incidents. The panel consists of independent professionals from a range of disciplines who are engaged for their professional expertise.

- Digital desk

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