Inquiry after boy (17) dies while in care


HEALTH AUTHORITIES are finalising an internal inquiry into circumstances surrounding the death of a 17-year-old boy who died while in the care of the State.

David Foley from Clondalkin in Dublin died three years ago from a suspected drugs overdose.

He had been admitted into the care of the State at the age of 14 after his relationship with his father broke down.

The former minister for children Brian Lenihan asked the HSE in February 2006 to conduct an internal inquiry to review the care provided to the boy.

This followed concerns expressed by social care professionals and legal representatives over the way the boy's care was handled.

A number of social workers have told The Irish Timesthat the boy was inappropriately placed in an emergency hostel for several months due to a row between community care areas over who was responsible for him.

While in emergency care, the boy became involved in drugs and crime and ultimately became very difficult to link into social services.

They say he should been placed in more suitable community-based care, or that family support services should have intervened to enable the boy to reside at home or in his community.

The outcome of the HSE's internal inquiry may have implications for the way the State's emergency care system is organised.

Separately, an internal inquiry is also under way into the circumstances surrounding the death of a 14-year-old girl with a history of State care. Michelle Bray, from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, died in January 2007, apparently after inhaling solvents.

The HSE had been warned more than a year previously that the girl's life was in danger unless she was placed in residential care.