Concern over disability services
One in four young adults with an intellectual disability or autism who left secondary school this year will have no further education, training, or day service placement in September.
The HSE said there was currently no place for 153 out of the 650 school leavers with an intellectual disability or autism who need further support from the disability services.
Several disability advocacy groups have demanded that Minister of State with responsibility for mental health Kathleen Lynch immediately address the issue and ensure a service is available for all young adults who require it in September.
Inclusion Ireland chief executive Paddy Connolly said the situation was not a new one. “This situation has repeated itself annually since 2008, yet young adults with disabilities and their families are again facing a summer of uncertainty and stress as they wait to be told whether a service will materialise in September,” he said
Mr Connolly claimed the development highlighted “disjointed leadership” and that Ms Lynch must take responsibility for it.
The Department of Health said in a statement that “the HSE is currently working with all relevant service providers to maximize the use of the available places”.
The HSE and disability service providers agreed that notifications would be issued to families from July 10th onwards if a place became available or if the young person was to be placed on a waiting list.
They acknowledge that the waiting period is a “difficult time for individuals and their families.”
“Every effort is being made to achieve an equitable and sustainable outcome.”
Tony Murray of the National Parents and Siblings Alliance, for family members of people with intellectual disability or autism, said even those who do secure some form of placement in September may not receive the service that best supports their needs.
“Many will get a three day service, when a five day service would better support them. When people are being squeezed into any available placements, then questions must also be raised about the quality of service,” he said.