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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 24 November 2020

Hundreds of young people may be left without disability service location after leaving school

Money that was allocated for the provision of services now has to be used to rent new premises so there is a place for these services to be provided.

Image: Shutterstock/Corepics VOF

HUNDREDS OF SCHOOL leavers may be left without a place to go for disability day services in September due to funding shortages in the health service.

An internal HSE memo sent by a disability specialist, seen by TheJournal.ie, warns that 680 young people exiting education will require a day service from September and the current services in their locality do not have the capacity to take them.

“The absence of capital funding over the last twelve years has resulted in a lack of capacity within all day services to address the needs of school leavers year-on-year,” the memo said.

It added that this absence of funding has meant “a considerable amount” of the annual funds provided for school leavers is being used to rent premises for short-term periods so there is somewhere for the service to locate.

The memo said this approach has compromised the ability of providers to offer a quality service to users.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, the HSE said it is “acutely aware of the issues associated with providing day service and supports for school leavers and those exiting rehabilitative training in 2018″.

“We are actively engaged with all day service providers and other stakeholders to develop solutions to meet the identified needs of school leavers in 2018.

“One of the issues identified over recent years is the need to develop new service locations for day services as existing locations are at capacity and many require refurbishment.”

The HSE acknowledged that some of the allocated funding for school leavers’ services is being used to rent appropriate buildings.

As in previous years, the HSE will endeavour to ensure that the maximum amount of the allocated funding is retained for providing services. In 2016 and in 2017 approx 5% of the funding allocated was used for the purposes of renting / leasing buildings with 95% of funding allocated to service provision.

However it said the needs in 2018 “appear to be greater”, adding that every effort will be made to curtail the amount of service money that has to be used for rent and equipment for these new locations.

“The major challenge will be to identify appropriate locations that will provide access to the range of community services and facilities that people with disabilities are supported to participate in as part of their day service. The HSE continues to work in collaboration with service providers and other stakeholders to ensure young people with a disability have access to day services appropriate to their needs.”

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