HSE writes formal apology to foster care abuse victim

The HSE has issued a formal written apology to the woman allegedly abused for two decades at a state-run foster-care home after denying for a week it had failed to do so in person.
HSE writes formal apology to foster care abuse victim

The Irish Examiner understands the apology was finally given to individuals representing the woman, who has significant intellectual disabilities, on Monday — accepting none of the failures which contributed to her situation “should ever have happened”.

Over Christmas, the HSE wrote to the Dáil’s public accounts committee to say it apologised to the woman who allegedly suffered years of disturbing sexual, physical and financial abuse at a foster care home between 1989 and 2009. The alleged apology was said to have taken place on December 9, with a follow up phonecall to the woman’s birth mother. A number of individuals aware of the facts have confirmed no such apology was given.

However, while the HSE is continuing to say it did apologise for what happened, members of the Public Accounts Committee confirmed last night the HSE has now written to the woman who was allegedly abused to formally apologise for what happened.

The letter confirms there was inadequate monitoring of the foster placement and liaison with social workers, and there was no “timely action” in removing the woman — who stayed at the home for 13 years after all placements were cancelled — when issues emerged.

As previously reported by the Irish Examiner, the case involves a single foster care family in the south-east who looked after 47 children and adults between 1983 and 2009.

In 1992, the South Eastern Health Board became aware of concerns surrounding the family, and removed all people placed with them in 1995. However, one woman who turned 18 in 1996 was accidentally left with the family until 2009.

After finding out about the mistake, the HSE commissioned a number of outside investigation reports, written by former HSE managers, costing more than €300,000. None has been published, an issue the HSE says is due to ongoing garda investigations now centred on potential “reckless endangerment” cases against named HSE personnel.

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