TWENTY-TWO YOUNG people died while known to State child protection services over a nine-month period, according to new HSE figures.
Four of the young people committed suicide, four died after drug overdoses and there were two cases of homicide. The HSE said these last two young people died as a result of fatal child abuse, not committed by a member of their family.
There were also six deaths from natural causes and six from accidents, including road accidents. All of the 22 deaths took place between March and December 2010, and are revealed today in the first annual report of the HSE’s National Review Panel for Serious Incidents & Child Deaths, which was set up in 2010.
Just two of the children were in full State residential care. Eleven were cases known to the child protection services, and nine were young people who had been in care and had either left recently or were in aftercare facilities.
Fifteen of the deaths were young males, with just seven females. Eight were children aged 14 or younger.
There were also eight “serious incidents” which were not fatal. Two were cases of parental abuse or neglect, one was alleged sexual abuse by a staff member, and one was a young person who was a witness to a traumatic event.
Professor Helen Buckley, the chair of the National Review Panel, said: “Our first thoughts today are with the families of the children and young people concerned. The NRP is conscious of the heartbreak experienced by families as well as the impact on all the individuals who knew and worked with the children and young people involved”
The report also states that in the ten years up to 2010, 35 children died while in full State care. There were a total of 199 deaths among young people known to child protection services over the same period.