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Taoiseach will act upon report which lists catalogue of failures into HSE and Tusla handling of foster home abuse case

The children involved were left with a foster family for several years despite abuse claims.

Image: Shutterstock/siam.pukkato

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has committed to act upon a report into the handling of an abuse case involving a number of children in a foster home in the west of Ireland.

RTÉ states that a report into the abuse case, which is due to be published in the coming weeks, strongly criticises both the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Child and Family Agency, Tusla for their handling of the case.

An RTÉ Investigates report - Failure to Foster Care - first revealed details of this case in April 2016. It alleged children were left with a foster family for several years despite serious allegations of sexual abuse.

The foster family at the centre of the case continued to provide some support services to a child until recently.

When asked about the report today, Varadkar said:

I think it is a deeply disturbing case, we should never forget that there are individuals, people who are very damaged by this, who are still hurting today, we want to make sure that there is nothing in our comments that might retraumatise them again.
The report hasn’t been published yet, I haven’t seen it myself. 

He added that the government will act upon the report when it is made public.

Serious allegations 

Concerns were first raised in 2007 when a young girl in respite care with the family said she had been abused by a family member, then aged 18.

The girl also claimed that a second girl, who had been with the family for several years, had been abused by the same family member. Inquiries by the HSE found the girl’s claims to be “credible,” the programme reported.

As the HSE and gardaí launched investigations into the girl’s disclosure it was decided that two other foster children, including the second girl and a boy should remain with the family.

At a meeting held two months after the initial claims were made, a care plan was agreed and it was decided the alleged abuser should not be left alone with the children.

A file was sent to the DPP, but there were no prosecutions in the case.

The programme reported that four years later the second girl mentioned in the initial complaint also alleged she had suffered sexual abuse by the same member of the family.

She was then removed from the family.

It was also decided that the boy should be removed, but it was almost a year before that removal took place.

Following the RTÉ programme, Tusla referred the case to the National Review Panel to investigate how it was handled.

The panel’s report, due to be published shortly, finds there were ”systemic flaws in management” by both the HSE and Tusla, according to RTÉ today.

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