Cork centre is a 'major step forward' for children's services


A NEW €3.1 million centre opened at the weekend in west Cork represents a major step forward in the provision of services to children with intellectual disabilities in the area, according to a voluntary group which will operate the facility.

The Children Services Centre in Dunmanway is the result of a partnership between the Health Service Executive, which provided €2.2 million in funding, and CoAction West Cork, which provides services for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

According to CoAction chief executive Maurice Walsh, some 90 children with intellectual disabilities along with a further 60 with Autism Spectrum Disorder will benefit from the new centre, which was built on a 1.5-acre site on St Mary’s Road in the town provided by the Daughters of Charity.

Mr Walsh said a team of health professionals would work from the Children’s Services Centre to provide assessment, diagnosis and interventions tailored for each individual child and their family.

Among the professional services providers who will be based at the centre are psychologists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, psychiatric social workers, occupational therapists, nurses, clerical support staff and disability act officers.

The centre will also be home to CoAction’s Autistic Spectrum Disorder team, who will assess, diagnose and develop care plans for children with autism, as well as the HSE’s Early Intervention Team, which provides assessment and support for children with complex developmental concerns. It will also house the Brothers of Charity’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), which provides assessment and ongoing support to children and young people with significant emotional and mental health issues.

The new facility, which saw CoAction raise €850,000 locally, also includes a purpose-built seven-bed single respite house and pre-school developed with a €700,000 grant from the HSE and operated by CoAction to cater for more than 60 children aged from seven to 18.

HSE South local health manager Gretta Crowley said the new centre was an important development and a major step forward in the provision of services as it would allow parents greater involvement in caring for their children.

“This new development ensures that services for children who have additional needs are centred around the child and their family. Working together on one site ensures services are easily accessible, co-ordinated and directly involve parents and their children in all aspects of their care.”