HSE figures reveal Government is Breaking the Law in terms of Assessment of Need for thousands of vulnerable children.
In a statement Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit TD said figures he has received from the HSE following a Parliamentary Question (attached) on the numbers of children awaiting Assessment of Need, beyond the statutory (legally required) timeframe are “shocking and disgraceful”.
The figures for all CHO areas across the country show that 3768 children are awaiting the completion of their assessment beyond the legally required 6 month timeline and a further 1076 children are waiting beyond the legally required 3 months for commencement of Stage 2.
(See PQ HSE response below)
The HSE figures show CHO areas 4, 9 & 7 are the worst affected but that back-logs beyond the legally required timeline for needs assessment exist in every area of the country.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said “It was utterly disgraceful and a shocking dereliction of duty that the Government and the HSE are breaking the law in term of their obligations to thousands of the most vulnerable of our children”
“Parents are at their wits end because their childrens’ rights to supports, services and a decent education are being denied, due to shortfalls in resources & staffing. Schools ability to apply for SNA allocations and resource hours are also being affected by the huge waiting lists of children with needs up and down the country.”
“Parents in my constituency have spoken of crying down the phone to HSE School Age Teams, begging them to assess their children, many who have been waiting 1, 2 and even 3 years for Multi-Disciplinary Assessment of Need. How can this Government stand over such shocking negligence in the care of children who need supports in education and therapeutic supports”
“It seems the reason for these unacceptable waiting times is that the government is failing to adequately resource and staff the Early Intervention and School Age Teams.
I’m calling on Simon Harris to immediately provide the necessary resources and launch a major recruitment campaign to bring staffing levels for these teams up to what is required to at least clear these lists.”
Quote from Paul Murphy TD:
“The figures released for the number of applications for assessment of needs overdue confirms the anecdotal stories of many parents in the Tallaght area waiting for assessment of needs. Many parents are now forced to go solicitors to threaten legal action against the HSE in order to get the assessment of needs that their children are legally entitled to. For many parents, this is simply the first step in a whole series of struggles in order to get their children the supports that they need. How the government treats children with special needs, despite their lip-service to the idea of early intervention, is nothing short of shameful.”
Bríd Smith TD said:
“These figures show a total failure of duty of care for children in this state Area 7 which caters for West Dublin including areas such as Ballyfermot, Clondalkin and Lucan are among the worst services in the country.
“Already hard pressed parents struggle on a daily basis to cope with their children special needs without any state support.
“This government is breaking the laws by not providing the assessments on time and the follow up care. Those who can afford private psychology services do not bear the brunt of the government’s crimes but as usual it’s the ordinary working parents and their kids who suffer. This has to stop. Equality of access and support for all.”Hse-Waiting-Lists-Scan