Agencies demand inquiry after claims of children left in foster care despite allegations of sexual abuse

Several agencies charged with representing vulnerable children and young adults in State care have demanded an independent inquiry into allegations that children were left in foster care settings despite allegations of sexual abuse.

Tusla confirmed it is referring its handling of the latest case to an independent review panel for adjudicating.

Following reports in the Irish Examiner about the case of an intellectually disable young woman in a Waterford foster home, the government announced the establishment of a commission of inquiry.

Sources last night indicated the inquiry could be expanded to examine these new allegations.

Fred McBride, chief executive of Tusla — the Child and Family Agency — said it does not have the money necessary to spend on protecting children and providing family support.

Jennifer Gargan, director of advocacy group EPIC, criticised Tusla for failing to provide about one in 10 foster carers with a link social worker.

The ISPCC called for a full independent investigation of the fresh allegations highlighted by the RTÉ Investigations Unit.

Chief executive Grainia Long said: “It is paramount that the voices of children are heard, listened to, and acted upon. It is essential, for example, that where concerns exist regarding a child in a foster care setting, all children in that setting are met with and any concerns explored.”

Waterford Fine Gael TD John Deasy, who was to the fore of highlighting the case of ‘Grace’, said the scope of the investigation into the allegations of abuse at the foster home now needs to be widened.

James Reilly, the acting children’s minister, said through a spokesman last night that he was not informed by Tusla of the latest allegations until Monday.

Concerns were first raised in 2007 when a young girl in respite care with a foster family alleged she had been abused by a then 18-year-old member of that family.

HSE inquiries found the girl’s claims to be “credible”, but it was decided two other foster children could remain with the family and that the alleged abuser was not to have unsupervised contact with them.


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