75 children at risk put under HSE supervision

A WEEK-OLD baby was among the 75 children placed under a supervision order in Cork and Kerry last year over fears for their safety and well-being.

New figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show 32 children in the South Lee HSE area – taking in the southside of Cork city and surrounding county – were placed under supervision orders by a judge at the request of social workers, the highest figure for any area in HSE South.

The number included a one-week-old boy in the south of the city, who is still under the supervision order but living at home, after the court granted the order last November on grounds of protection.

A month-old baby, this time of non-Irish ethnicity, was placed under a similar order in the south of Cork city last January, as was a seven-month-old baby last July. A 10-month-old baby was placed under a supervision order in Cork city last June on welfare grounds.

In north Cork city and related county 16 children were placed under orders last year, while the figure for Co Kerry was 15.

In north Cork, eight children were placed under supervision orders, and in west Cork the figure was four.

The majority of cases relate to Irish children but, in Co Kerry, nine of the 15 cases involved non-Irish children – all for reasons of neglect.

Eight children were placed under supervision orders last year in north Cork, including five children from one family.

North Cork was also the only area to feature a case where a child was placed under a supervision order due to emotional and sexual abuse. The 15-year-old boy is still in the family home, according to the HSE.

A 17-year-old, possibly from the same family, was placed under a supervision order on the same day on abuse and emotional abuse grounds.

A supervision order gives the HSE power to visit the child periodically to check on his or her welfare and advise on their care.

Courts Service figures published last year show nationally the number of orders granted doubled between 2004 and 2007.

In the overall HSE South Area, protection issues formed the basis of most cases, with 32 instances of supervision orders being granted on those grounds.

In 19 cases the order was granted on welfare grounds, and in 15 cases for neglect.

The remaining cases involved emotional or physical grounds or in one case, sexual and emotional grounds.

Despite the large numbers of orders granted last year, just 25 children were placed in some form of statutory or residential care, with nine of the cases in Co Kerry resulting in the child being placed in care.

In other cases the supervision order has expired and the child is still at home, while in some cases the order is still in place.

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