There have been more than 5,800 incidents of damage to property at Tusla residential care centres in the past three years, Freedom of Information figures have revealed.
In 2021, there were 1,965 recorded incidents of property damage by residents to residential centres, and in 2022, there were 1,481.
However, the agency did not say whether any young people have been prosecuted as a result.
Chief Executive of Barnardos Suzanne Connolly, said children in residential care have had very traumatic childhoods.
“Some children, they damage property because they’re acting out their feelings of anger, fear, frustration and rejection,” she said.
“They don’t know how to cope with these feelings in a constructive way.
“So, they need help; they need help to learn different ways of coping rather than lashing out - which puts themselves and others at risk.”
In a statement to Newstalk, Tusla said most of the breakages were “minor”.
“Not all of these incidents should be viewed as significant damage and are very often associated with a young person’s expression of adverse experiences in their earlier years,” the agency said.
“The vast majority of incidents of property damage are typically considered to be minor, for example broken crockery or picture frames, etc.
“The majority of incidents of property damage would be of low monetary value and deemed as not serious, but recorded nonetheless.”
At the end of the third quarter of 2022, there were 5,810 children in care.
Main image: A broken plate. Picture by: Alamy.com