Tusla bill reaches €3.6m for specialist residential care abroad

ireland
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Tusla has spent nearly €3.6 million on sending children abroad for specialist residential care over the past two years.

At the end of 2020, this involved just three children and the Child and Family agency says the majority of children are cared for in family settings, whether with relatives or foster carers.

The agency said there are a small number of children who require specialised residential care on account of their life experiences.

The agency says the majority of these children are accommodated in Ireland, but a small number are sent abroad if the care they need is not available here.

Figures from 2020 show Tusla spent over €1.3 million on specialist residential care for children in the UK last year, and over €2.2 million in 2019.

At the end of last year, three Irish children were in these facilities in the UK, compared to nine children at the same point in 2019.

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Tanya Ward from the Children's Rights Alliance believes the practice should end, calling for an improvement of therapies and support available in the State.

"We have heard from children, young people and the families affected and this has not always had a very positive effect on their lives," Ms Ward said.

"For the families affected, for example, that can mean they have to travel to the UK to visit their children and this can be very expensive, and it can also mean that they don't get to see their children all that often.

"I do think we need to start looking at trying to develop these therapies and supports at home," she added.

Tusla says out-of-state placements are only considered when the needs of the young person cannot be met in Ireland.

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