Health Board Mishandled Foster Case – O’Reilly

The Ombudsman has criticised a former health board for mishandling efforts to get three siblings into foster care.

In a report out today, Emily O’Reilly says bad administration and poor communication between social workers and the unnamed health board impacted on a couple’s attempts to foster the children in 2001.

The three are still in residential care today – ten years after the death of their mother.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland, Ms O’Reilly said the board’s actions saw it lose a window of opportunity that could have led to a different outcome for the children.

She said she was highlighting the issue to make the system fairer for future foster parents.

Following the report, Geoffrey Shannon, the country’s leading expert on child protection legislation, slated the unnamed health board for failing to foster the three children.

Mr Shannon said children are not pieces of furniture than can be moved around at will.

He said financial and administration considerations were of greater concern than care of the children.

The HSE says it is studying the report from the ombudsman, which it received today and any lessons to be learned form the report will be taken on board.