Child welfare groups and abuse victims welcome Ryan report plan

 

CHILD WELFARE groups and victims of institutional abuse gave the Government’s plan to implement the recommendations of the Ryan report a qualified welcome yesterday.

John Kelly, co-ordinator of Survivors of Child Abuse, welcomed the report but expressed anger that it did not reopen the redress scheme for abuse victims resident outside the State.

The Children’s Rights Alliance, a coalition of 80 child welfare organisations, said the report set out a clear and focused framework which could make a real and positive difference to the lives of vulnerable children.

The main challenge, it said, will be to ensure funding and other resources required to put it in place are forthcoming.

Maria Corbett, the alliance’s policy director, said: “We are at a critical juncture. We must not let the actions contained in this plan become mere aspiration. Indeed, we’re calling for timelines to be brought forward to reflect the urgency of some of the child protection and child care issues covered in the plan.”

Barnardos welcomed the report, in particular a commitment to put Children First child protection guidelines on a statutory footing, a move it has been seeking for many years.

However, it expressed disappointment at the State’s failure to put aftercare services on a statutory basis or to introduce independent monitoring of serious incidents, such as deaths of children in care.

The ISPCC broadly welcomed the plan but expressed concern that “some opportunities were missed” by not putting Children First on a statutory footing beyond those that are employed by the State or who receive State funding.

The Rape Crisis Network said the plan was “strong on specific commitments and actions”.

Executive director Fiona Neary said the plan was “in keeping with what the citizens of Ireland want in the full awareness of the extent of the atrocities brought to light by the Ryan report”.

“The Minister today recognised that words alone are not enough and this plan makes solid commitments which will directly increase child protection and child safety,” she said.

“Child protection requires adequate resources and this plan includes the allocation of dedicated resources in a number of key areas, including social work services.”

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre commended Minister for Children Barry Andrews and his team for the plan which, it said, would go a long way to ensuring the atrocities in the Ryan report were never repeated.

Ryan report: implementation plan

Some of the 99 measures to be introduced on foot of the Ryan report:

A national memorial, to act as a reminder of the neglect and abuse of victims of child abuse, as well as consideration of a “national date of atonement”

Limited case-loads for newly qualified social workers, as well as moves to fill 270 vacant social work posts

Independent inspections of all residential facilities for children, including those for

young people with disabilities

Ending the use of hostels to accommodate separated children seeking asylum

Access to aftercare for young people leaving the care system until the age of 21

Ensure all children in care have an allocated social worker and a care plan, in accordance with regulations

Assessment of all foster carers relatives acting as carers, in accordance with existing regulations

Improved access to counselling for survivors of abuse

Certificates for victims of abuse clarifying whether they have a criminal record or not

Requiring State employees, as well as staff in services funded by the State, to implement the Children First guidelines on reporting child protection concerns. Children First are national guidelines, published a decade ago, for identifying and reporting child abuse