HSE paid private foster care firm €28.8m

Tue, Jul 9, 2013, 01:00

One firm has received €28.8 million from the Health Service Executive (HSE) for providing private foster care over the past four years, new figures show.

According to figures released by the HSE, the UK-owned Fostering First (Ireland) Ltd received €28.8 million between 2009 and 2012.

The figures show that last year the firm received €9.36 million for providing care to 135 children and €7.7 million in 2011 for providing care for 132 children. Figures show that the HSE has paid a total of €48 million to five foster care companies over the past four years.

Last year, the HSE paid out €19.1 million to four private foster care firms to care for 347 children – representing a 49 per cent increase on the €12.8 million paid out to the private firms that cared for 360 children in 2011.

Another firm, Five Rivers Ireland, has received €12.9 million in fees over the past four years that included €5.9 million for the care of 132 children last year, according to the HSE.

The figures show that Orchard Children’s Services received €4.8 million over the four years with Oakland Residential Services Ltd receiving €1.34 million.

Recent accounts
The most recent accounts for Fostering First (Ireland) Ltd show that the firm increased its pretax profits by 53 per cent from €467,000 to €715,000 in the 12 months to the end of December 2011.

The higher rate in respect of placements with Fostering First Ireland is due to a VAT charge of 23 per cent – the other companies are not-for-profit organisations, said a health service spokeswoman.

“These agencies must be fully compliant with all childcare regulations and standards as well as requirements under company law,” she said.

“Placement of children in foster care via these agencies requires prior approval by local HSE foster care committees.

“Agencies enter into service level agreements with the HSE in respect of the services provided.”

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