The HSE was involved in the case of an at-risk teenage girl with intellectual disabilities known as ‘Mary’ earlier than it has previously admitted.
It was revealed in May that the teenager was left with a foster carer, accused of sex abuse, for up to 21 months after two other children in the home were removed. The allegation against the foster carer did not involve alleged abuse of the children and young adult in question.
At that time, the HSE said it took action to ensure the safety of Mary in February of this year — within a week of its safeguarding team being notified of the risk of abuse,
However, RTÉ’s This Week programme has claimed that HSE files it has seen show that its disability services were aware of the risk to the woman some 18 months prior to this.
Tusla had first raised the allegations with the HSE and the service provider in June and July of 2014.
Two other foster children were removed from the home by Tusla in June of that year.
However, RTÉ claims a note on September 19, 2014, from an internal meeting in Mary’s local HSE disability service stated that: “‘Mary’ has to be removed”.
It also claimed an entry in the Intellectual Disability Database from September 16 records that Mary required an emergency placement.
However, the teenager remained in the home until February 2016.
RTÉ claims HSE files from late 2014 reveal local Tusla staff in the region where Mary was living told the HSE it no longer felt there was a specific risk to the teenager.
Two other Tusla reports — from 2015 and January 2016 — also took this view with the latter recommending that Mary stay in the foster home.
However, this was reversed following the media storm which erupted over the ‘Grace’ case, where another young woman was left in a foster home after allegations of abuse were made.
The HSE, Tusla, and the local service provider told RTÉ they would not comment until the current review of the case had been completed.
The review, jointly commissioned by the HSE and Tusla, will endeavour to establish the full facts of the case and was announced in May.
It is being carried out by an independent reviewer, Cathleen Callinan, with the support of a senior professional from both Tusla and the HSE. The staff of both agencies will fully co-operate with the review.
At the time the review was announced, both agencies said a report is to be expected within six weeks of commencement and will be published in full.
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