Call for review of services for people with intellectual disabilities

A report has been published into services in the south east

Call for review of services for people with intellectual disabilities

Image via @gavreilly on Twitter

A report on disability foster care in the Health Service Executive (HSE) says a review should be carried out on the process of engaging with people with an intellectual disability.

It also says the HSE should jointly review issues with the child and family agency, TUSLA.

The 'Disability Foster Care Report, HSE South East (Resilience Ireland)' report documents people under the care of those known as 'foster family X'.

In total, it says 47 people - including two from the one family - were placed with them from 1983 to 1993.

Among those is the case of ‘Service User 42’, whose case is given more detail in the Conal Devine report.

The Resilience Ireland report found that overcrowding, lack of supervision and poor admission and discharge arrangements were issues highlighted by next of kin interviews with 33 families.

The report also says that of the families that did drop off or collect their child from the home of foster family X, “many did not get access into the home and therefore were not aware of any household issues that might cause them to be concerned”.

Many families also reported they did not receive any feedback at the end of a respite period, other than “He/she got on well”.

There was also no telephone in foster family X’s home “for a significant period of time”.

Of the families interviewed, 18 of them said they had experienced “positive interactions” with foster family X, were satisfied with the care received and felt that their child/adult was “well looked after”. 

One family also recalled being invited into the house to share a cup of tea with the foster family.

“Locked in a cupboard”

The report says one individual, who had a brief placement in the late 1980s, claimed they were “locked in a cupboard in the foster home”.

The disclosure was made to the family 10 years after the event.

The report says it was decided not to interview the male in question “as it may have an adverse effect on his health”. 

Another user who had three placements in the mid-1980s reported allegations of abuse in the mid-1990s.

At the time, the family lived outside Ireland and local social services were aware of the disclosure – which was also reported to the gardaí.

The family still lives outside Ireland and a current police/garda investigation is underway. 

In another of the unidentified individuals, the report found “two concerns exist” over their experiences elsewhere.

It adds that this relates to a concern by the team “entirely unrelated to foster family X”.

“It relates to the potential harm which may have arisen based on information known regarding a particular service user”.

It says the team communicated its concern to the HSE.

Another individual had “two substantial periods of placements” in the home of foster family X in the 1990s.

Here, the report found “concerns” in the care experienced during these placements.

The family consented to a garda investigation on this, which is on-going.

The HSE files found “significant variance” in accounts of what happened – while the report says “without direct engagement with the family, it would be impossible to develop a clear understanding of the concerns and how they were addressed”.

Another service user spent over four months in the home of foster family X in the early 1990s.

On this, the report states: “There is no evidence on file to suggest that this service user had any adverse experience while in the home of foster family X”.