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File image of Minister Roderic O'Gorman.

New research to examine lives of children in care and adults who were in care as children

The Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said the project will provide “new and important insights”.

A NEW RESEARCH and data project will examine the lives of children in care and adults who were in care as children, the Children and Equality Minister has announced. 

Roderic O’Gorman said the research will be the “most extensive and comprehensive examination of Ireland’s alternative care system ever undertaken”. 

The minister has received government approval to launch the project. He said it will offer “new and important insights” into the experience of children both in care and later in life. 

The project has five steps which will be developed on a phased basis, one of which is a study of people who left care 10 years ago. This aims to gain insights into the longer-term experiences and outcomes of these people.

There will also be a longitudinal cohort study of young people leaving care which will involve a 10-year study of a cohort of young people leaving care. 

The  Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said this project addresses the Ryan Report Implementation Plan recommendations to conduct longitudinal research with young people who have left care. 

“The Ryan Report recommendation was made in 2009. Given the significant improvements during that time, including the establishment of both the Department of Children and Tusla, there is now an appropriate infrastructure in place to research and understand the experiences of children in care and their journey as young adults,” Minister O’Gorman said in a statement.

“While the need for greater research to understand the lives of children in care and adults who were in care as children has been highlighted in the past, I have personally prioritised this work for 2022.”

The Ryan Report documented the physical, sexual and emotional abuse of thousands of children in institutions run by religious orders. 

“Consultation with stakeholders will be key throughout all phases of this project,” a department statement said.

There are around 6,000 children in care in Ireland at the moment. Around 500 young people leave care every year after turning 18. 

  • KIDS IN CARE: Read more here on how to support a major Noteworthy project to examine if children are falling through the cracks of the care system.

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