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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 26 February, 2020
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Concern over sudden closure of care home for children in Donegal

Some of the children in the home were moved out of the county entirely at short notice.

Image: child image via Shutterstock

CONCERNS HAVE BEEN expressed about the closure of a Donegal residential unit for children in care.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, who raised the issue today, said it was worrying that some of the children who had been staying at the home in Letterkenny, were forced to relocate out of the county, more than 200 miles away, having been given just 24 hours’ notice.

The child and family agency Tusla has said there were difficulties in identifying a suitable replacement following the departure of the home’s manager. The decision was made this week to “suspend temporarily the service” at the centre.

‘Extremely concerning’

“It’s extremely concerning to think that some of the most vulnerable children and young people, who have come to settle into life at the facility and which they referred to as their home, can be ordered to up sticks and leave and move to a unit several counties away to be housed in strange settings in a strange community,” Doherty said.

I cannot understand the rationale of the authorities responsible in their making this decision which, in effect, has turned the lives of these children upside down without so much as an explanation having yet been given as to why residential services have been suspended.

Doherty has written to the Health Information and Quality Authority for findings on the most recent inspection of the facility, which he said he hopes will shed light on the move.

‘In their best interests’

In a statement, Tusla said the decision was taken in the best interests of the children who lived there, as it was felt that the quality of the service provided could not be guaranteed without a centre manager.

“Arrangements for alternative accommodation are being made and the children are being supported through the transition by their social workers and in accordance with their care plan Tusla will continue in its efforts to identify a suitably qualified manager to re-establish the service as soon as possible.”

Read: A social worker’s perspective: We need to rethink the way we help vulnerable children>

Read: Minute silence in Children’s Court for teenage boy who died while in care>

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