Four of nine youths in care died from natural causes

A review conducted into the deaths of nine young people who had been, at some point in their lives, in State care showed four had died from natural causes.

The reports were published yesterday by the National Review Panel (NRP).

Of the four who died of natural causes, two had been born with congenital diseases, one had a number of physical disabilities and the other had a terminal illness which had developed in their teens.

The other five deaths included four young people who died by by their own actions and one discovered with a high level of toxicity in their bloodstream.

Separate reports were written for people named, for the purpose of the review, as Baby Sarah, Jeff, Adam and Brendan.

Brendan was 15-years-old when he died. An inquest found that his death was “self-inflicted”.

“Because of the very short duration of the involvement of the social work department with this case, there is very little information on file about Brendan. It was known that his parents had separated,” reads the report into his death.

Brendan had lived with his mother and then subsequently his father. The NRP report states that his parents had found his behaviour to be very challenging.

Jeff was 19-years-old when he died. He had been in the care of the HSE/health board from the time that he was three-years-old.

Jeff took his own life while in aftercare.

“Jeff was 18-months-old when his family first came to the attention of the health board social work department (SWD) due to parental neglect, alcohol abuse and domestic violence,” the report into his case stated.

Baby Sarah died from natural causes when she was a few months old.

She and her family had been known to child protection services since before her birth.

“The review found no direct link between her sad death and the interventions or lack of interventions of the social work department.

“However, it has identified a number of practice deficits in the way that reports about the family were processed prior to and following Sarah’s birth. These included an inadequate response to reports about her mother’s vulnerability,” said the report into her death.

Adam, whoses age was not expressly stated in the report, was a teenager when he died.

Adam took his own life according to the NRP report in his death.

“Adam was reared by his mother, called Ruth in the report, alone for his early years although his mother enjoyed the support of her extended family to whom she was close. Ruth met (and later married) her husband James when Adam was about eight-years-old.

“Initially the family were close and James and Adam got on very well together. The family went to live abroad for a year and then returned to Ireland. They subsequently had another child,” the report noted.

According to the review Ruth and James did not always agree on the best approach to manage Adam’s behaviour, as he entered his teen years.

“The HSE Child and Family Service Social Work Department received a referral when Adam was 13-years-old and worked with Adam and his family until his death,” the report said.


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